Can You Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits for COVID in New York?

Experienced Queens | NYC | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

The coronavirus pandemic has hit New York particularly hard, with nearly 700,000 diagnosed cases through early December, 2020. Many workers have been out weeks or months after contracting the virus and some may be unable to return to work for the foreseeable future. Can you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in New York if you’ve caught COVID-19? If so, what must you show to secure payments?

Workers’ Compensation Provides Benefits for Occupational Disease

In New York, as in all states, you can pursue work comp benefits if you have been exposed to or contracted an illness, but you must show that your exposure was work-related. The definition of “work-related” can be broad, including:

  • Exposure during regularly scheduled breaks
  • Exposure during meal breaks, provided you stayed on company premises
  • Exposure during travel for work (excluding your commute or any side trips for primarily personal reasons)
  • Exposure during company events

The New York Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) maintains a list of those conditions that have been identified as “occupational diseases,” where it may be presumed that a worker contracted the disease on the job. Unfortunately, thus far the novel coronavirus has not been designated as an occupational illness. That shifts the burden to the employee to prove that the exposure to the virus was through employment. Public health professionals agree that tracing the source of infection with COVID-19 is particularly challenging, given how new the condition is and how little is known about how it may be transmitted.

Officials with the WCB say that, to date, more than 12,000 COVID-related workers’ compensation claims have been filed in New York. Though more than half of those claims have not been resolved yet, fewer than 10 have been denied outright and nearly 5,000 workers have received benefits voluntarily from work comp insurance companies.

Experienced Queens |NYC | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we handle all matters related to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims for people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our practice area overview page or call our offices at 718-626-7730.

Pyrros & Serres LLP

Queens | NYC | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Attorneys