Michigan lawyer discusses COVID and workers’ comp for first responders.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult year for just about everyone. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed how we all live and work. We think it has been especially hard for those individuals who have pending workmen’s comp cases. All hearing sites in Michigan have been closed since March and re-opening is months away. Thankfully, we are still permitted to resolve cases telephonically and have been getting lump sum cash settlements for our clients. But what about new cases that have not yet been filed? The Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency continues processing new cases and we are still advocating for our clients. This is especially critical right now because of all the first responders who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Here are some frequently asked questions about COVID and workers’ comp benefits for first responders.
Can first responders get workers’ comp benefits for COVID?
A: First responders who develop COVID are entitled to workers’ comp benefits if the disease arose out of and in the course of employment. This includes payment for medical treatment, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation. Death benefits include a burial expense and up to 500 weeks of compensation.
How do I prove contracting the coronavirus disease was caused by employment?
It can be difficult to prove a COVID was caused by employment because of community spread. It is important to make sure any doctor seen gets a complete history of potential exposure at work including dates, people, and locations. First responders are presumed to have gotten COVID because of their employment activities and should be immediately covered by workers’ comp.
Who is considered a coronavirus first responder?
Emergency rules from the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency define a first responder as one or more of the following:
- A person working in ambulance operations and advanced mobile emergency care services, county medical care facilities, emergency services, emergency medical services, homes for the aged, hospices, hospitals and nursing homes.
- A person working in a home health agency or visiting nurse association.
- Any person working as a physician, physician assistant, nurse, emergency medical technician, paramedic or respiratory therapist.
- Any police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, on-call members of a fire department, volunteer civil defense workers, on-call members of a life support agency or members of an emergency rescue team, as those terms are used in the Worker’s Disability Compensation Act of 1969.
- A member of the Michigan State Police or an officer of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Department of the State Police.
- A Michigan Department of Corrections Officer or local corrections officer.
How do first responders who developed COVID make a claim for workers’ comp benefits?
Michigan law requires notice to the employer within 90 days and claim within 2 years. Both requirements can be satisfied by simply telling a manager or supervisor about the coronavirus diagnosis and need for benefits. Make sure to call an experienced lawyer if benefits are disputed for any reason.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.