Has Your Covid-19 Workers’ Compensation Claim Been Denied?
If you contracted Covid-19 at your workplace, but your worker’s compensation claim was denied, you are not alone. A recent analysis in the Wall Street Journal reflects that many Covid-19 workers’ compensation claims are being denied, even when there appears to be strong evidence that the exposure occurred in the workplace. One Chicago lawyer stated that he had submitted 30 workers’ compensation claims on behalf of clients, 10 of whom were now deceased because of the illness, and all 30 were denied. A New York attorney stated that 20 workers’ compensation claims she submitted on behalf of clients had been denied, one of which was a healthcare worker, whom many states give a presumption of workplace exposure for the contraction of Covid-19 to ensure workers’ compensation eligibility. However, even in states that have a presumption of eligibility for workers’ compensation, denials of submitted claims are still high. So far, Covid-19 claims by our firm have been denied initially by the insurance carrier in nearly every instance. While Maryland does not currently have a presumption for Covid-19 claim, it is very likely that it will have one later in 2021.
At the beginning of the pandemic, workers’ compensation insurance companies reportedly panicked about a potential onslaught of claims. Workers’ compensation insurance companies weren’t prepared for the potentially catastrophic impact of a global pandemic, which could easily bankrupt them. However, despite the staggeringly high number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, it hasn’t affected insurance companies the way they expected. In fact, workers’ compensation insurance companies have spent significantly less money this year than they did during the same period pre-pandemic. This decrease in spending may seem surprising, however, mass lay-offs and decreased injuries due to working from home are largely responsible.
Why are these claims being denied?
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, you must establish that the injury occurred at your place of work. When the injury is a broken ankle caused by falling off of a ladder, it is much easier to tie conclusively to the workplace than an airborne virus. This is the primary rationale provided for denying Covid-19 workers’ compensation claims. Insurance companies are taking the position that the causal link between contracting Covid-19 and the workplace cannot conclusively be established. Given that 27.9 million people in the United States have contracted Covid-19 so far, they claim that an employee is as likely to have been exposed to Covid-19 outside of working hours, as they would at work. Even in instances where there is a confirmed workplace exposure and a lack of employer precautions, insurance companies have maintained that the affected employee could have been exposed multiple times and contracted the virus outside of work.
Do any claims get approved?
While there is not enough data yet to make national projections, statistics show that Texas has denied 45% of claims asserting that Covid-19 was contracted in the workplace. The good news is, that means there are claims that are still being approved–the majority in that state.
In order to get a Covid-19 claim approved for workers’ compensation, an individual must demonstrate that there are no other known sources of exposure–effectively and preemptively refuting the assumption that they could have contracted the virus anywhere other than in their place of work.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have contracted Covid-19 as a result of workplace exposure, our lawyers are here to help you. Whether you have already filed a claim that was denied, or are just getting ready to start the process, our Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to help you navigate this process and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact the office of Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP and schedule your free consultation today.