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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19) and Connecticut Workers’ Compensation

Employees who contract Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the job should be covered under Connecticut Workers’ Compensation.

If you have contracted Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the job or suspect it was on the job you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation.

Connecticut’s Workers’ Compensation law provides benefits to employees who become sick or injured on the job.  The primary benefits available under Connecticut’s Workers’ Compensation are wage replacement and paid medical treatment.  For an accepted claim, you will receive approximately 75% of your wages for as long as you are totally unable to work.  It also means that your medical treatment will be covered in full without the need to worry about a copay or deductible.  If you suffer a permanent impairment you can receive compensation for that too.  Death benefits are also available to family members of an employee who passes from the disease.

While no cases have been decided yet, any employee who contracts the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) while engaging in the business of their employer, should be covered.   C.G.S. §31-275(1).  You, however, will have to show that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was more likely than not contracted on the job.  C.G.S. §31-275(1)(B).  You may be entitled to compensation even if you contract the illness working from home.  Showing you contracted the illness while working can be done through multiple methods.

The most common method to show an illness arose on the job is for your treating physician to write in your medical records or in a note that it is “more likely than not” that you contracted the illness on the job.  Your physician should be able to do this if you provide them with information about your work and non-work life.  Your doctor will need to know the nature of your employment.  What do you do?  How frequently do you come into contact with people?  Have any of your co-workers or customers been diagnosed with COVID-19?  When were your co-workers and/or customers diagnosed with COVID-19?  Has anyone in your household been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Providing your physician with answers to these questions should be enough for them to opine about whether it is more likely than not that you contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the job or not.

Please make sure you are properly tested for COVID-19.  If your doctor diagnosis you with COVID-19 without a positive test result an issue may arise in the future.

The Workers’ Compensation Commission is open and deciding claims right now.  Hearings are being conducted telephonically, but they are still occurring.  Do not wait.

Note this is a rapidly evolving situation and new legislation may modify this.  Historically the legislature has enacted laws that lowered the burden of proof or provided additional coverage to employees for Workers’ Compensation claims under these circumstances.

If you have questions about your eligibility or would like assistance in filing a workers’ compensation claim please contact Jeremy C. Virgil or Clare E. Hannant at Zeldes, Needle and Cooper, P.C.