What Happens if You Get Coronavirus at Work?

The global coronavirus outbreak is the most talked-about story in the news today. What started in China has spread throughout Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. As of March 7th, the global number of confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and those who have been exposed to the virus are being asked to self-quarantine. 

The global impact of the virus is undeniable. While everyone is concerned about exposure and the physical impact of the disease itself, the outbreak will continue to affect the economy in ways we can’t exactly predict yet. 

One of these ways could be an increase in workers’ compensation claims from employees who believe they’ve been exposed to the virus at work. Medical personnel like nurses and EMTs will make up a lot of these claims, but a large number of filings may also start coming from laborers with significant public contact.

People who work in service industries like transportation, hospitality, education, restaurants, and retail are all more likely to be exposed to the virus than office workers, and therefore are more likely to file claims. There is some legal precedent involving workers suing for exposure to illnesses, Athens, GA work lawyer Darwin Johnson advises employees in any of these sectors to learn their rights and ensure they are protected. 

What Can We Learn From Past Outbreaks?

In 2016, 6 residents of Kern County, California were killed, and 1905 others were struck with a fungal infection called “Valley Fever”. It was caused by a fungus that lives in the soil in Arizona and California. 

About 40 percent of patients with Valley Fever required a hospital stay, which cost an average of $50,000. This is where workers’ compensation comes in. In 2016, Kern County saw an increase in workers’ compensation claims from employees who alleged exposure to the virus at work.   

What Does it Mean for Workers?  

In the case of California’s valley fever outbreak, public contact workers were given a better chance at a claim. According to California’s Workers’ Compensation Board: “Industrial Causation was established if the employee’s risk of contracting (the infection) from employment was medically probably or materially greater than from the general public.”  

So for those who are directly in the line of fire, it may be easier to file a successful claim and be reimbursed for medical bills. Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to Coronavirus at the workplace should reach out to Atlanta workers’ comp attorneys The Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson and Associates.