Many workers lost their jobs as businesses suffered from shutdowns during the pandemic. Others faithfully reported to work, despite their likely fear of exposure to the coronavirus.
Nearly one year after the pandemic began, roughly 9,000 workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19 had been paid in Minnesota. However, that number represents only half of the related claims filed throughout the state at that time.
Advocacy from a local law firm
Reports suggest some of the most significant workplace outbreaks throughout Minnesota occurred in meat-processing plants. None of the 935 COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims were paid as of February 2021.
A lawyer with Malone & Atchison, John Malone, reportedly noted that workers’ compensation claims are “routinely litigated.” He also suggested that the meat processing plant managers weren’t handling these claims individually.
But isn’t that what the workers’ compensation system is supposed to do?
Workers’ compensation benefits
Employers must be self-insured or purchase workers’ compensation insurance, which is designed to protect injured and ill workers. The no-fault system also protects employers from legal action.
Employees can request benefits for injuries and illnesses that result from their work. This includes:
- Qualifying mental injuries
- Repetitive injuries
- Traumatic injuries
Occupational diseases may also qualify an employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
What help is available?
With viral transmission possible throughout the community, COVID claims may be more challenging to support than workplace accidents. However, exposure on the job could entitle you to benefits for your missed hours from work and medical care.
You have a right to seek the benefits you deserve. Asking questions about your options is the first step toward protecting your interests.