Can an employee file a workers’ compensation claim for COVID?

The direct answer to this question is “yes.”  In fact, there have already been numerous COVID-related claims filed in South Carolina.  It appears some claims under workers’ compensation which may have already been accepted by workers’ compensation carriers.  However, as of this date, most claims have been denied and none have yet to be tried before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Claims which are filed could potentially be viewed as “occupational diseases” or as “injuries by accidents.”  In all likelihood, in order to be compensable, employees seeking workers compensation benefits for COVID would need to establish that the nature of their job placed them at some greater risk for contracting the disease.  This could foreseeably include medical professionals having to care for patients with COVID but could also include other workers who may have been required to work in conditions that made contraction of COVID significantly more likely.  These cases will be complicated and will require opinions from medical experts in order to maximize the chances of success.  At this point, it is our understanding these claims will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the Commission.  Further, given that South Carolina often looks to North Carolina courts for guidance on workers compensation issues, it will be important to track developments in both states as we move forward.

If you believe you may have contracted COVID from work, understand this is a developing and complex legal issue at this time.  Please contact me, Jeremy Dantin, for a free consultation regarding concerns over potential work-related COVID issues or any other injuries/illnesses you may have sustained on the job. 

Blog post by partner Jeremy Dantin. Click here to learn more about Jeremy.

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