The answer is maybe, depending upon a number of factors discussed below, but the first thing you should do is report your work injury in writing and request medical care. You are required under Iowa law to provide notice to your employer within 90 days of when you knew or should have known that your condition is work-related. Most employers, including the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, are taking the position that workers contracted the virus in the community, at home, or somewhere else besides work. When it comes to Coronavirus Covid-19 some of the factors in determining if your condition is work-related or not are:
1. What type of and where do you work?
For example, if you work in a meat processing or packing plant and a significant number of other employees are exposed this is evidence that your condition was caused by work. Another example is if you are a front line worker (nurse, doctor, police, firefighter, etc.) and have come in contact with people at work who have Coronavirus Covid 19 make sure that you document the name, date and time that you may have been exposed. Likewise, if you are the only employee at your work who has been diagnosed then you will have a more difficult time proving your condition is work-related.
2. Have members of your family or other people that you have been around outside of work been diagnosed?
If yes, then employers and their insurance companies will likely deny your case based upon "community exposure". If no, then this can be evidence that your exposure most likely came from work.
3. Does your job require you to be on the road such as rest areas, gas stations, public restrooms, restaurants, etc.
For example, if you are an over the road truck driver you are likely at a much higher risk to contract the virus that someone who is working from home because their office is closed. If you suspect you have contracted the virus while working on the road, it would be a good idea to write down the date, name, and location of the places you have been while working as this may be crucial evidence later on.
The above are just some examples and the facts in your case along with the opinions of your treating physicians, independent medical examiners, and other experts will be reviewed by the Iowa workers compensation deputy/judge assigned to your case. Also, keep in mind that this can be a very lengthy process sometimes lasting several years, but the longer you wait, the longer it will take.
Overall, it is likely that your employer and their insurance company will deny most, if not all, Coronavirus Covid 19 cases so when do you know if you need to hire an attorney or not.
1. If your symptoms were mild, you missed little, if any work and your medical bills are mostly covered then it may not make sense to bring a contested Iowa workers compensation claim.
2. If your symptoms were more severe are you now have permanent lung, breathing or other medical conditions caused by the virus then you will likely need help.
3. If you have had a loved one pass away because of the virus, then you almost assuredly will need the help of an experienced Iowa workers compensation attorney to help you through the process.
As you can see, these cases are very fact specific and you or a loved one meets one or more of the above then you should immediately seek legal help from a qualified Iowa work comp lawyer. There are timeline as short at 90 days for you to provide written notification to your employer that you are pursuing a work injury claim for the Coronavirus Covid 19. If you or a loved one have questions or concerns we offer injured workers and their family a no-cost, no risk work injury review so call now (641) 792-3595 or contact us here!
Some of you may not be ready to pick up the phone and call and attorney for help, so if you would like more information about the Iowa workers compensation system, then request your copy of our book that we offer at no cost entitled “Iowa Workers’ Compensation- An Insider’s Guide to Work Injuries” which includes the Injured Workers Bill of Rights, 7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid if You are Hurt at Work" and much more. We offer the book to injured workers throughout the state of Iowa because we have seen too many hard-working Iowans working as nurses, police officers, firefighters, doctors, factory workers, and many other jobs throughout the state of Iowa make costly avoidable mistakes. Iowans hurt on the job including those diagnosed with Coronavirus Covid 19 are beginning to realize that their employer and their insurance company are not going to help them through the process. Instead, they are going to need to learn about Iowa's workers compensation laws and/or hire an attorney to help them with the process. Finally, you can read a book about Iowa's work injuries in the comfort of your own home with no pressure.