With the current economic lockdown that is taking place across our nation, many people (both business owners and employees) have been wondering how these government measures will effect them. In our last blog post, we discussed Business Income coverage and why, in nearly all cases, there will be no coverage found for lost Business Income due to coronavirus, including government-mandated closure of businesses. Now we will address issues related to Workers Compensation.
While we have received many similar sounding correspondences from our insurance companies, here is one that nicely sums up what the requirements would be for a potentially successful Worker's Compensation claim due to Coronavirus:
"For exposure to coronavirus to be compensable, the exposure must both arise out of the workers’ employment and be in the course and scope of their employment when the exposure took place. Simply being exposed to the coronavirus while at work will generally not satisfy the two-pronged compensability test in most jurisdictions; there must be an employment risk inherent to the exposure (e.g. a research scientist working with the virus)"
Another difficult hurdle for workers to clear when filing a Worker's Comp claim relates to where the exposure occurred. It is very difficult to prove where exposure took place. If there is not certainty, then holding an employer liable will be difficult. If a grocery store employee contracts COVID-19, he or she may think they have good reasons to believe they contracted it at work. But the reality is, among other problems, it will be hard to show definitive proof that the exposure was on the job...and even if you could, there are several more walls to climb.
We all want to help each other out during this critical time and many folks may well lose their jobs during this process. However, a business owners insurance policy is not going to be the answer to anyone's problems in this situation. Business owners and employees alike will need to look to the federal government and their respective state and local governments to help rectify the many broken situations that result from this viral pandemic.
DISCLAIMER: Any information and recommendations contained in this communication have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, Lon Brown Insurance, Fearrin Insurance, Key Henson Jackson Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance Group accepts no legal responsibility for the accuracy, sufficiency, or completeness of such information. Additional safety and health procedures may be required to comply with local, state, or federal law. Content in this document is not legal advice, nor does it amend the terms, conditions, or coverages of any insurance policy issued by herein above listed insurance agencies and/or companies. Materials provided by Brown Insurance Group for use as an educational tool.