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Challenges of Linking COVID-19 Diagnosis to Your Workplace

construction worker outsideThe COVID-19 virus can be deadly, but even those who survive could be out of work for a long time. Some people who contract the virus may have long-term complications that make it more difficult to work as much as they used to. Some victims feel fine some days and other days some of their symptoms may return and make them unable to go back to work.

If you contracted the virus, it is possible it happened while you were at work, particularly if you work indoors. There are many unknowns about the virus, but there appears to be a greater chance of contracting the virus while indoors.

Since the virus spreads easily, it may be difficult to determine where you caught it. This may make it difficult to link your diagnosis to your job, which you must do to obtain workers’ compensation benefits in California.

Employees who reported to their worksite between March 19 and July 5, 2020 and were diagnosed with COVID-19 may be eligible for benefits under Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order that was issued on May 6.

Jobs with a High Risk of Contracting COVID-19

You could catch coronavirus at any job, but there are certain jobs with a much higher risk of infection, such as being a nurse or doctor at a hospital. You are likely to be in contact with people infected with the virus, including other health care workers or those receiving treatment for the infection.

Here is a list of some highest-risk jobs for contracting COVID-19:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Respiratory therapy technician
  • Dentist
  • Patient care assistant
  • Family doctor
  • Registered nurse
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Surgical technologist
  • Physician assistant
  • Cardiovascular technologist
  • Cardiovascular technician
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Veterinarian
  • Firefighter
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Hairdresser
  • Cosmetologist
  • Correctional officer
  • Social worker
  • Childcare worker

If you work in one of these or another high-risk job, and you were diagnosed with the virus, it may have happened while you were on the job. You should immediately report your diagnosis to your employer to begin the workers’ compensation process. Acting quickly can help to show the severity of the situation. Delays give the insurance company reasons to be suspicious of the validity of your claim.

If your claim is approved, the governor’s executive order says you can receive temporary disability payments after you exhaust federal or state COVID-19 paid sick leave benefits.

Our Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorneys are ready to help you pursue benefits for your coronavirus diagnosis.

Determining When the Infection Occurred

It can be very challenging to determine precisely when and where you contracted the virus. However, if coworkers or customers contracted the virus you may be able to determine when you were in contact with them. These details may go a long way toward bolstering your claim.

Being in the same room as a someone with the virus does not necessarily mean you are going to contract it. You likely need to have been in close contact with the infected individual. Examples of close contact include:

  • Being in direct physical contact with the person, such as a hug, handshake or kiss
  • Standing within 15 feet of someone else for more than 15 minutes in one day
  • Being in contact with another’s respiratory secretions, such as being coughed on or sneezed on, sharing a towel or glass or being in contact with a dirty tissue

Wearing a face mask may help to limit the spread of the virus, so if you were in contact with someone who was not wearing a face mask, your risk of infection may have been higher. However, even someone wearing a face mask could potentially spread the virus.

Unfortunately, you may not notice symptoms for a significant amount of time after exposure to the virus. That can make it tough to determine when you were exposed. Also, sometimes people contract the virus and are asymptomatic. That means they likely will not know they are infected, so you would not know if they were the source of your infection.

We Are Here to Help, Call Today to Learn More

The experienced attorneys at Berry, Smith & Bartell are ready to help you pursue workers’ compensation benefits during this difficult time. We know how important these benefits are when employees cannot work, especially given the state of the economy.

You can call anytime to speak to a representative of our firm and schedule a free legal consultation. We do not get paid for representing you unless we obtain compensation. That means there is no risk to you in calling us to discuss your situation.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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