Under the current law in Iowa you have to prove that your injury, whether it is Coronavirus Covid 19, a back injury, etc. arose out of and in the course of your employment. One would think that your employer and their workers' compensation insurance company would want to help you as you likely are putting your life and livelihood on the line to do your job. However, most of the time your employer and/or their workers' compensation insurance company will look for a way to deny your claim with one or more of the following excuses:
1. How do we know you were infected at work?
2. You have probably been around someone else with the virus?
3. We don't have to pay for Coronavirus (Covid 19) cases because it is a pandemic.
It is your burden of proof as an injured worker to prove that you contracted the virus at work so how can you do this?
1. If your occupation (nurse, doctor, ambulance personnel, orderly, etc.) causes you to be exposed to patients then you should document the date, time, location, name of patient(s) (later on you can use initials if necessary for HIPPA) with Coronavirus and how you may have been exposed;
2. If you have symptoms report them immediately to your employer, tell your employer why you think it is work related and request medical care. If they don't have you fill out an injury report, then prepare a statement yourself and keep a copy of it for your records. Often, if you only give a verbal statement your employer will deny that you notified them and deny, defend and delay your claim;
3. Insist on getting tested to determine if what you have is really Coronavirus or just the flu. If you do not have a test confirming it then later on the insurance company will likely try to blame it on anything and everything that they can in order to not have to pay you benefits.
While a traumatic exposure to Coronavirus should be enough to prove you sustained a work injury, your employer may treat the condition as an occupational disease which can make it more difficult for you to make a recovery. For an occupational disease you have to prove:
1. You developed a disease that arises out of and in the course of employment and have a direct casual connection with the employment and followed as a natural incident thereto from injuries exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment;
2. You developed a disease which follows from a hazard to which an employee has or would have been equally exposed outside of the occupation is not compensable as an occupational disease.
An occupational diseased claim has other legal requirements which make it very important to promptly report your work related Coronavirus (Covid 19) in writing to your employer. For more information about Iowa workers compensation claims request a copy of our Iowa Workers' Compensation Book where we explain the work injury process in more detail and also devote an entire chapter to Your Rights as an Employee, FMLA, ADA, etc Click Here. We offer our book at no cost or risk to you because we have seen far too many hard working Iowans make a costly mistake because they did not have the information they needed. If you have any questions contact us here or call 641-792-3595