Those who have become exposed to the novel coronavirus while on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation, particularly when it impacts their ability to work and warrants medical treatment. However, it begs the question of how much these claims are actually worth. If your claim settles, how much would the payout be?
The simple answer is that it’s a bit early to tell just yet.
Settlements on Coronavirus Claims Are Uncertain
At times, a workers’ compensation claim may settle for a lump sum amount rather than continue on with months or years of regular paychecks. In many cases, negotiations with the insurance company will arrive at a settlement value that is based on what you’d reasonably be able to recover for it in court.
Given that there haven’t yet been any verdicts revolving around work-related COVID-19 infections in Illinois, there isn’t any real data upon which to base a settlement value.
It’s definitely possible that these cases will come up in the future, and once they do, there will be more data to use for settlement negotiations. Until then, though, the exact value of these types of claims isn’t completely certain.
Easily Calculable Workers’ Comp Benefits
While the exact settlement values of COVID work comp cases may be a bit nebulous right now, there are benefits that are easily calculable right now. These include the following.
Any amount of time you spend receiving medical treatment for a coronavirus infection should be covered by your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance (assuming, of course, that you can show that your illness is work-related). That means any related medical bills should be fully paid for.
Time Off Work
In addition to your medical bills, you should be able to receive benefits for any time you miss work due to your infection. To any extent where your time off isn’t covered by your employer’s sick leave and time off policies, you should be compensated for at least a portion of your lost income by workers’ compensation.
Permanent Disability Benefits
In some cases, the effects of the coronavirus can leave you permanently disabled. In these cases, you’d likely qualify for permanent disability benefits. These benefits are often calculable based on definite rules set forth by the IWCC, so your benefits shouldn’t be difficult to determine once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.
There will likely be some pushing and pulling with the insurance company to make sure they cover your lost income, but a good attorney will be able to secure the compensation you deserve.
Making Sure You’re Compensated
If you have contracted the virus at work, the most important priority right now is to make sure you are compensated for your medical expenses and lost income. After enough time has passed and you have reached maximum medical improvement, it may come time to pursue a settlement, particularly if you have any lingering disabilities.
Throughout all of this, however, you’ll need an attorney, especially given how uncertain these cases can be right now. To make sure you have someone on your side to advocate for your rights as an employee, contact Hart David Carson LLP today.