How Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Rights?
Connecticut workers, like millions of those across the U.S., are understandably concerned right now about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their health, livelihood and financial security. But what if you are among those required to work during the nationwide quarantine and are injured or contract the virus on the job? What if you had already suffered a work-related injury and had to file a claim just as the quarantine went into effect? Our legal team at Morizio law Firm is here to answer your questions about your workers’ compensation rights and how they are impacted by the national crisis.
The good news for Connecticut workers is that the state is waiving all regulatory and statutory deadlines associated with workers’ compensation claims in the foreseeable future. Governor Ned Lamont on March 24 issued an executive order instituting an indefinite suspension of deadlines and “time requirements” for cases going before the state Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).
Commissioners Conducting Claim Hearings by Telephone
For safety purposes, Workers’ Compensation Commissioners are presently conducting telephone hearings for existing and newly filed claims. Chairman Stephen M. Morelli has implemented many procedural consideration that will ensure the continuity of claims throughout each of the eight (8) district offices amid the pandemic and unprecedented statewide economic disruption. The Chairman will make ongoing evaluations as workers’ compensation claims are filed and hearings requested “to ensure the Workers’ Compensation Commission continues to function at the highest level possible during this health crisis.”
At-Risk Connecticut Healthcare Personnel Protected by Workers’ Compensation
Many healthcare workers employed in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other medical facilities are at special risk of contracting the new coronavirus, especially with the well-publicized shortages of face masks and other safety apparel. In Connecticut, thanks to a 1997 decision by the state supreme court, contraction of a life-threatening infectious disease counts as a work-related injury which qualifies for medical payment and other workers’ compensation benefits. State officials expect workers’ compensation claims from health workers to spike as a result. However, in these cases the claimant must prove their illness was contracted through their employment and not from other social contact, which can be harder to do than in the case of other physical injuries.
A Board-Certified Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help
The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 outbreak makes the services of an experienced Connecticut workers’ compensation attorney essential if you suffer an injury on the job while the state staff cutbacks are in effect. If you are a medical worker who has been exposed to the virus, skilled legal representation is critical due to the special requirements to qualify for benefits. To ensure your rights are protected at this stressful time, contact the law offices of board-certified Stratford workers’ compensation attorney Lawrence Morizio for a free confidential consultation.