Unpaid workers’ comp for MN meat packers show the importance of the legal presumption

by | Jul 23, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

We have talked a lot in this blog about the legal presumption created by Minnesota workers’ compensation law. The legal presumption attempts to make workers’ compensation benefits easier to access for COVID sufferers. In most cases, workers’ compensation requires that the applicant for benefits prove that they whatever illness or injury they suffered occurred at work in the normal course of employment. The legal presumption means that, in workers’ compensation claims involving COVID, instead of having to prove that they contracted the illness at work, it is presumed. This makes it much easier for people who qualify to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for COVID.

Not everyone qualifies for the legal presumption

The problem with the legal presumption is that not everyone qualifies. It only applies to people in certain categories. You can read more about who qualifies in a previous blog post, but generally the legal presumption extends only to people in certain occupations like healthcare and emergency service providers.

For any other types of workers making COVID-related workers’ compensation claims, they must still prove that they contracted the virus at work, which is no simple task. For far too many people, proving they contracted COVID at work can prove an insurmountable task and many have been unable to obtain their much-needed benefits.

Who is most harmed by the inability to obtain workers’ compensation benefits?

While it is difficult to determine what groups of workers are most harmed by not being included in the legal presumption, Minnesota’s meat packers have suffered in a particular way in this legal landscape.

According to the Star Tribune online, workers in meat packing plants have not been able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for COVID. Although the “meat processing plants have had 935 claims filed for COVID,” no claims had been paid as of February 2021.

Since that time, it is possible that some of these workers have received benefits, but the problem is still significant. That many meat packing plant workers contracting COVID, and none of the workers’ compensation claims being paid out shows the difficulty faced by people who do not qualify for the legal presumption.

If you are a meat packing worker or any other type of worker who has contracted COVID at work, you will need help obtaining your workers’ compensation benefits. Although it might be a fight, with the right legal help, you could obtain the benefits you need.