With so much uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to stay aware of the laws within your state pertaining to these matters. As there are many people who continued to work throughout the spread of this virus, something to keep in mind may be workers’ compensation law. Continue reading below to learn more about the frequently asked questions surrounding COVID-19 and West Virginia workers’ compensation.
Is COVID-19 Compensable Under West Virginia Law?
It is important to know that COVID-19 is not compensable as an occupational disease unless it is incurred in the course of and resulting from employment. The virus could also be considered an accidental injury if it was contracted while the employee engaged in work activities. If an employee is able to prove with evidence that they contracted the virus as a result of their work duties instead of general public exposure, it may be considered work-related. This includes any travel on behalf of the employer’s business. However, if an employee engages in a “major deviation from the business purpose” of the employment, the illness would not be compensable. This is also the same for employees who become ill while teleworking, as long as it is due to the course of employment.
Are Psychiatric Claims Compensable for a Person Who Contracted COVID-19?
Psychological injuries that result from an illness or injury are compensable only if they manifest demonstrable physical symptoms. Therefore, mental-mental claims are not compensable.
If COVID-19 is Found Compensable, What Benefits Are Owed?
Individuals who qualify for workers’ compensation due to COVID-19 may be entitled to certain benefits. This can include medical benefits, such as healthcare services, rehabilitation services, durable medical and other goods, and medical supplies. In addition to this, they can receive disability benefits such as temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial rehabilitation, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability. Employees may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation, death benefits, and funeral expenses.
Will TTD Benefits be Paid if an Employee is Forced to Quarantine?
In the event that an employee is forced to quarantine due to possible work exposure, temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are not required to be paid. These are only paid if an employee suffered from a compensable injury that results in disability lasting longer than three days. An employee must actually contract the Coronavirus in order to have a compensable injury to receive TTD benefits.
Are Employers Required to Pay for Medical Testing to Rule Out COVID-19?
Employers and insurers have discretion when it comes to medical coverage decisions, including the services rendered for diagnosis. This includes diagnostic testing. It is because of this that it is up to the employer or insurer to decide whether or not to pay for testing to rule out the virus. They are not required to do so.
If you have become the victim of an on the job injury, it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney and the doctor that is treating you to determine how to make the process as easy as possible. AllianceMeds understands that a workplace accident can be challenging and is here to help. We will deliver your medication to your door using overnight delivery and cover any out of pocket expenses that may arise. If you have any questions about how we can help, contact AllianceMeds today.