Workers’ Compensation offers assistance to employees who suffer illness or injury as a result of their job. The pandemic kept countless workers at home, leaving many wondering if they can file a Workers’ Comp claim for contracting COVID-19 at their workplace.
Read on to learn more about South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation laws, and how these regulations apply to pandemic-related illness. If you are unsure whether you have a valid claim, schedule your free consultation at Hoffman Law Firm today!
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover COVID-19 in South Carolina?
Under our state’s Workers’ Compensation laws, employees who develop a disease are not eligible for benefits unless the condition is the unavoidable result of a workplace accident or it qualifies as an occupational disease. To qualify, the illness must be the direct result of a hazard specific to the job, and must result from prolonged exposure to typical working conditions.
Therefore, a contagious illness is ruled out because the employee likely caught it from a co-worker, not from a hazard associated with their job duties. It is also just as likely that they were exposed to the illness outside of the workplace. COVID-19 falls under the contagious illness category, making it difficult to successfully claim Workers’ Comp benefits.
Healthcare workers and first responders, however, are the exception. Because their job requires direct and repeated contact with infected patients, they may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation. Some states have streamlined the process for these workers to claim benefits, but South Carolina is not one of them. If you work in the healthcare industry and believe you may be eligible for benefits, contact a trusted Workers’ Compensation lawyer today.
Can Federal Employees Get Workers’ Compensation Coverage If They Get COVID-19?
Yes, federal employees diagnosed with COVID-19 are covered as of February 2022. Recent legislation (American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) has paved the way for federal employees to receive benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA).
To file a COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation claim, you must show the following:
- You were diagnosed with COVID-19 by a positive test result (home tests excluded) or a medical professional
- You performed job duties that required contact with patients, the public, or co-workers within 21 days of diagnosis
For more details, contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyer today. Hoffman Law Firm is here to help!
Does Workers’ Comp Cover COVID-19 Exposure Due to Workplace Conditions?
If you suspect that you were exposed to COVID-19 due to unsafe working conditions, you may be eligible for compensation. For instance, perhaps you caught COVID-19 at work because your employer did not supply face masks or implement social distancing practices. In this case, it was not the nature of your job that resulted in illness, but instead, your employer’s negligence.
The law does not specifically address situations like these, so protocol currently varies from state to state. Your South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help determine whether or not you may be eligible for benefits. Schedule a free consultation at our North Charleston, SC office to learn more.
What If My Job Puts Me at High Risk For COVID-19?
Those working in the healthcare industry face a higher risk of COVID-19 infection than most other employees – especially during the peak of the pandemic. But other frontline workers, like grocery store employees, correctional officers, and public transit operators, may be able to prove a link between their illness and the nature of their job.
In fact, some states have offered special protections to these frontline workers. If you believe your career puts you at a higher risk than the general population, contact our team to learn more about eligibility.
South Carolina’s Current State Actions Related to COVID-19 and Workers’ Comp
As of March 16, 2020, the NCSL has been carefully tracking legislation, executive orders and administrative policy changes that address COVID-related Workers’ Compensation coverage.
State: South Carolina
Bill or Order Number: HB 3192
Type of Worker with Presumption of Occupational Disease:
- First responder
- Health care provider
- Correctional officer
What Are Common COVID-19 Symptoms?
COVID-19 impacts people differently, causing symptoms to vary from patient to patient. Symptoms range from mild to severe, typically appearing 2 to 14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, the following symptoms may indicate COVID-19 infection:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
Be sure to seek emergency medical care right away if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent chest pain or pressure
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue skin, lips, or nail beds (depending on skin tone)
Will a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Review My Claim to Confirm That My Employer Is Being Honest?
Yes. Here at Hoffman Law Firm, our Workers’ Comp lawyers will review your claim and offer trusted legal advice. As passionate advocates for our clients, we will fight for the benefits you deserve – and help ensure your employer provides the most accurate information possible. Plus, we offer free initial consultations!
We have also provided some helpful Workers’ Comp blogs while you wait on your consultation. Check them out here:
Charleston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Near Me
Our community is home to a strong, committed workforce – and our team is proud to serve employees like you! With maximized benefits as our goal, our Charleston Workers’ Compensation lawyers are ready to fight for you! Let us put our experience to work for you, starting with your free consultation. For legal advice you can count on, get in touch today!
Our personal injury law firm offers trusted legal representation in a wide variety of cases here in the Lowcountry, including:
Disclaimer: Information on this page is sourced from reliable sources including the CDC, NCSL and DOL website. In the event of a discrepancy between the information on Hoffmanlawfirm.com and the website above, please follow the guidance of the CDC, NCSL and DOL.