The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the American workforce. First responders, health care providers, and other essential workers put their health and lives on the line every day to keep our country going. Those who work in close proximity to the public are particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. If you become ill due to exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, you have every right to file a workers’ compensation claim, but proving that you caught the disease at work can be challenging.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman keep a close eye on the latest developments in the law. We’re pleased to learn that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a bill that makes it easier for certain essential workers to collect workers’ compensation for COVID-19 infection.
What Are New Workers’ Compensation Rules For COVID-19?
On September 14, 2020, Senate Bill 2380was signed into law by Governor Murphy. This bill establishes a presumption of compensability for certain essential workers during a public health emergency. This means that the employee’s burden of proof to show that they contracted COVID-19 at work is significantly lessened.
The burden instead will be on employers to prove that an employee did not get COVID-19 in the course of their employment. In most workers’ compensation cases, the burden of proof rests on the employee, so this change gives essential workers like first responders and healthcare workers a considerable advantage. It is also retroactive to March 9, 2020, which means you may be eligible for some workers’ compensation benefits even if you already had the illness and have recovered.
What Types Of Essential Workers Are Eligible?
Essential workers or employees in SB-2380 include workers in both the private and public sectors, including:
- Public safety workers and first responders, including firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMTs
- Workers involved in providing healthcare services, emergency transportation, social services, and other care services, including employees of residential facilities, care home, and rehabilitation centers
- People who perform jobs that involve physical proximity to the public and are essential to the public’s health, safety, and welfare, including transportation services, banking, and the production, preparation, storage, sale, and distribution of essential goods. This category of workers may include:
- Hotel and other residential service workers
- Grocery store employees
- Pharmacy workers
- Medical supply store employees
- Gas station and convenience store employees
- Cashier and store clerks
- Construction workers
- Child and adult day care workers
- Public transportation workers
- Any workers deemed essential through public authority, such as an executive order issued by Governor Murphy during the pandemic
How Can A Workers’ Comp Attorney Protect Your Health & Your Rights?
Regardless of the type of job you do, if you contracted COVID-19 at work, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Even if you are a first responder, health care worker, or another essential employee, your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company may still claim that you were not exposed to the disease at work. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you gather evidence and prove how your illness may be work-related. In these types of cases, it’s vital to have someone who understands workers’ comp law help you fight for the benefits you deserve to ensure your health and financial security are protected.
Contact A New Jersey Workers Compensation Lawyer
If you’re a first responder, health care worker, or another essential employee who contracted COVID-19 at work, our team at Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman can help. Existing clients: please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. New clients: use the live chat feature on our website. You can also contact us online, or call us at 201-798-2711 in Jersey City, NJ, or 973-874-0556 in Newfoundland, NJ to schedule a consultation or ask questions. We also serve clients in Jefferson, Vernon, Kinnelon, and throughout the state of New Jersey. Se habla Español.