While Connecticut instituted a mandatory stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19, essential businesses were to remain open, thus essential workers were required to work throughout the duration of this pandemic. As a result, many essential workers have contracted the coronavirus while on the job, impacting both their health and their finances. Although under workers’ compensation law those that become ill or injured while on the job can usually collect workers’ compensation benefits, those with COVID-19 have not been so fortunate. Despite applying for workers’ compensation benefits, many of their claims have been denied leaving them with mounting medical bills and serious complications that often render them unable to return to work.
Legislative Presumption of Workers’ Comp
In an effort to help essential workers left in this predicament, as of June 9, six states have already enacted legislation that creates a presumption of workers’ compensation; 7 other states have done the same through executive orders, however, CT is not one of them. Unfortunately, Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont, said he doesn’t see a need to change the current workers’ compensation process, even temporarily.
As of June 17, only 29 out of 739 employees in CT who have filed for workers’ compensation have won hearing requests, while the others have been denied.
The Difficulty of Proof Remains
Part of the issue with the way that the current workers’ compensation system is set up is that it will be extremely difficult to prove that a worker did in fact contract COVID-19 while at work and not somewhere else, regardless of their occupation.
But Gov. Lamont is not the only one who isn’t jumping to create a presumption of workers’ compensation benefits. Lawmakers are still conflicted as to what would be the best legislative solution. State Sen. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury, believes that legislators must look at the current situation from a holistic perspective that can help to relieve these workers as soon as possible.
While workers’ compensation surely wouldn’t solve everything, it would help workers who are currently facing astronomical medical bills to get back on their feet financially.
The Attorneys at Carter Mario Law Firm Can Help
The impact of contracting the coronavirus can prove severe or even life-threatening. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you believe that you contracted it while on the job as an essential worker, you should not be stuck facing medical bills, lost wages, and more alone.