Workers’ compensation insurance benefits cover most Illinois workers for work-related accidents or exposure. Most of us probably think only of injuries caused by serious accidents, like broken bones or head injuries. However, exposure to toxins, chemicals, dust, and germs also may harm employees. During this current coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to realize that you may be eligible for workers’ comp because of COVID-19 Exposure.
General Eligibility for Workers’ Comp
Employer-purchased workers’ compensation insurance covers most employees in Illinois. Using Illinois laws, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (the “Commission”) functions as an administrative body that handles disputed workers’ comp claims. The Commission also sets policies and procedures based on Illinois law.
To qualify for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, you must:
- Be an employee, as defined by law;
- Have been injured because of your work or developed a work-related occupational disease;
- Notify your employer within 45 days of an accident, within 90 days after exposure to radiation, or as soon as possible after being diagnosed with an occupational illness.
It’s best to discuss your situation with an attorney if you are not sure you qualify for this important benefit, especially because of COVID-19 exposure. While some on-the-job injuries are obvious, others may be less easy to prove.
Coronavirus as an Occupational Disease
According to the Illinois Occupational Disease Act, an occupational disease is one that arises out of employment. However, there must be an apparent connection between the job and the disease.
Some workers do experience a greater possibility of getting sick from COVID-19 exposure. For example, medical workers and retail workers interact frequently and at close range with people who may have the coronavirus.
However, catching the virus because a co-worker came to work ill may not be considered a work-related disease. Still, don’t give up. Your workers’ compensation lawyer can discuss your situation with you to see if you are eligible for workers’ comp due to COVID-19 exposure.
COVID-19 Exposure Outside the Workplace
Exposure may not occur within the course of your normal duties. If so, it is unlikely that COVID-19 exposure will qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits. However, federal and state government benefits may be available, including unemployment if you are laid off or disability benefits if you are unable to work.
Talk to an Attorney About COVID-19 Exposure and Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation procedures are complicated enough, with the addition of a deadly virus. If you are unsure about your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits, talk to an Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
With over 20 years’ experience, Osvaldo Rodriguez has the skills to handle your case from start to finish. To schedule your free initial consultation, or ask a question, call us at 708-716-3441 or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.
Mr. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.
We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Chicago, Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Berwyn, Chicago, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, and all of Cook County, Lake County, Kane County, Dupage County, and Will County.