Since the onset of COVID-19 last year, we have seen various spikes and dips, changes in policies related to the pandemic and other interesting trends. One thing we are seeing more of than ever is COVID-related workers’ compensation claims.
In a recent post, we discussed the recent legislation in Minnesota that names certain occupations as “presumptive” for purposes of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims. Normally, for most workers’ compensation claims, the injured worker is required to show that the injury or illness was contracted at work. With these named professions, anyone with COVID is presumed to have contracted it at work.
The numbers are in
In a recent update, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry provides statistics for workers’ compensation claims stemming from COVID-19. The PowerPoint presentation shows some interesting, though not surprising, trends:
- Between October of last year and February of 2021, instances of COVID-related workers’ compensation claims spiked dramatically, going from the just under 1,000 claims in September of 2020 and spiking at approximately 5,000 claims near the turn of the new year.
- During that same time, the overall number of cases spiked as well, topping off near the 7,000 claims mark.
- During that same time, instances of non-COVID claims dipped, though not nearly as dramatically as the increase in COVID claims.
- Health care and social assistance topped the industries with COVID claims by a significant percentage.
These are all interested statistics, but perhaps the most important to note is the health care and social assistance cases of COVID.
Minnesota working to protect health care workers during the pandemic
According to the presentation, there were more than 19,000 COVID-19 claims through March 3 of this year. Of that number, a shocking 14,047 were from the health care and social assistance sector. That is nearly 75 percent, or three out of every four claims, coming from this one industry.
That is more than a significant percentage.
The good news is that the Minnesota legislature seems to be recognizing this trend and acting accordingly. The recent legislation names nurses and other healthcare workers to be “frontline workers” for whom it will be presumed that any contracting of COVID-19 happened as a result of the occupation. This means that if you or someone you love is a healthcare worker who has contracted the virus, it will be much easier to obtain workers’ compensation benefits than it is for many other professions. Talk with an experienced lawyer who can explain the process of obtaining your benefits.