Since the start of pandemic, Minnesota has been on the forefront of heavy government involvement in trying to implement solutions. For anyone who has been following our recent blog posts on this topic, you know that Minnesota has enacted laws to help COVID victims obtain workers’ compensation.
This new law makes it easier for healthcare workers, first responders and other specified professionals to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, it does not cover all occupations. People not covered by Minnesota’s new workers’ compensation laws have a more difficult road to travel to obtain benefits, but it is not an impossible road.
What is the difference between those who are covered and those who are not?
The new law creates a legal presumption that when anyone (in one of the covered occupations) contracts COVID-19, it must have been at work. Therefore, it is considered a work-related illness and is thus covered by workers’ compensation.
Those who are not covered under the law must show that they contracted the virus at work and not outside of work. As you can imagine, this is no simple matter. In fact, according to a report from Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry, 98 percent of the benefits claims from the “presumption groups” (those covered under the law) were successful. For lost-time claims, only 14 percent of presumptive group claims were denied, compared to 58 percent from the non-presumptive group.
Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for COVID-19
However, it is not impossible to obtain benefits. If you are not covered, you have basically two options:
- Workers compensation: Although it is far more difficult to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for COVID if you are not in one of the covered occupations, it is still possible. The challenge is that you need to show that you contracted the virus at work. Talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you prove this to the workers’ compensation authorities.
- A personal injury claim: If you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you could still bring a personal injury claim. Although you might not meet the threshold for proving the disease was contracted at work according to the workers’ compensation standards, a personal injury claim could have a different result.
With these options, it is still work fighting for the benefits you need. Even if the new workers’ compensation laws do not cover your employment, you still deserve to be compensated for your illness and lost wages from missing work.