Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system is in place to compensate any employee (private or civil) when they are injured in the workplace. Every state has different laws and regulations that govern how workers’ compensation claims are handled; there is no blanket federal law that governs this area.
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, there have been many workers who are still on the job despite the hazard. Others may be concerned about returning to the workplace as businesses reopen. Under current federal and state laws, employers are still required to take necessary precautions to protect workers.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) excludes influenza and the common cold from its “recordable” criteria for workers’ compensation claims, the agency has said that COVID-19 qualifies as recordable when an employee is infected as a result of performing work-related duties. It is the employer’s responsibility to determine whether an infection is work-related, which generally means that it:
- Occurs in the course and scope of employment
- Has resulted from workplace exposure
- Is “peculiar” to the employee’s work, meaning that the infection is found exclusively among or presents a greater risk for particular employees
Proving a Coronavirus Claim
If you suspect you may have contracted the coronavirus at work but have not had a confirmed diagnosis from a doctor, it is critical that you do so as soon as possible. Not only to get the treatment you may need but also to have a medical report confirming a coronavirus diagnosis. This medical record will be crucial evidence if you file a coronavirus workers’ compensation claim. However, this record alone will not automatically make you eligible for a claim.
Since the coronavirus may be contracted just about anywhere, it is also important to have evidence to show you were exposed to the coronavirus as a direct result of your employment. If it is possible that you contracted the virus elsewhere, your claim could be denied.
Obtaining this evidence can be difficult unless you have a healthcare-related job, but it could still be possible for you to obtain workers’ compensation if you can prove that your employer did not take proper precautionary measures to protect employees from exposure. This not only includes at your workplace’s physical location but also if you were forced to travel for work or visit customers outside the workplace.
Since laws regarding the coronavirus are rapidly evolving, it is important for you to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to advise you on the latest changes to Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system and help you fight for your rights.
Have you been injured at work? Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. Let our team stand by your side throughout the workers’ compensation claim process to ensure you are fully compensated for your work-related injuries. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.