The Institutes

The Continued Impacts Of COVID-19 On Workers Compensation

 Wednesday, December 23, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for over 9 months now, with no end in sight. As more time passes, the impact on workers compensation is becoming more evident. However, we are still in the early stages of developing claims, and it will be some time before we have clarity on the full impact.

First and foremost, the definition of a workers compensation claim has been fundamentally redefined. When workers compensation started over 100 years ago, it was to cover traumatic workplace accidents, things that happened at a specific date, time, and place.

Over time, workers compensation expanded to cover occupational diseases. These diseases could be traced to exposures that were particular to the workplace and associated risks—a chronic disorder caused by work activities or environmental conditions in the workplace.

In many states, workers compensation expanded to cover injuries occurring gradually over time. As a result, repetitive trauma/continuous trauma claims are now a significant cause of injuries and workers compensation claims in some states.

Front and center today are infectious diseases; workers compensation was not designed to cover a global pandemic.
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