Courts Still Grappling with COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Claims Amid Long COVID Concerns (Business Insurance)

Courts Still Grappling with COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Claims Amid Long COVID Concerns

  Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 Source: Business Insurance

Even though the pandemic has been officially declared over, workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19 are still being filed, and courts are actively deliberating on their compensability. This trend is expected to persist, especially as the medical community grapples with the long-term effects of COVID-19, known as long COVID. Marcy Goldstein-Gelb of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health emphasizes that COVID-19 remains a workplace hazard. Recent legal decisions reflect the complexity of these cases. For instance, an Alabama appeals court recently reversed the dismissal of a claim by a nursing assistant who suffered permanent lung damage from COVID-19, contracted, she alleges, at her workplace. Conversely, a West Virginia appellate court denied permanent partial disability payments to a hospital employee who attributed her mental health issues to a work-related COVID-19 infection.

The discontinuation of workers’ compensation presumptions for COVID-19 has not diminished the number of claims, suggesting that the courts will continue to see cases challenging the causation of injuries. Legal experts recommend that employers treat COVID-19 claims as specific injuries to establish clear causation, considering that the virus can be contracted in numerous settings. Although legislative activity regarding COVID-19 presumptions has slowed, Maryland introduced a bill aiming to establish a long COVID presumption for essential government workers, signaling potential legislative interest in addressing the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce.

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