"Guest Column: Is COVID-19 Covered as a Workers’ Compensation Claim?"

Business Alabama

Carson Campbell authored an article published by Business Alabama on November 28, 2022, discussing how workers’ compensation claims filed for COVID-19 infections have been handled by the state’s courts and statutes.

“Interestingly enough, neither the Alabama appellate courts, nor the legislature, have addressed COVID-19 as a workers’ compensation claim in the past two years, which means there has been no formal determination on whether COVID-19 claims in the state should be covered under workers’ compensation,” Campbell explained. “This lack of a determination could bode well for businesses and employers.”

Based on Alabama workers’ compensation law, an employee must prove that COVID-19 is a “disease” and not temporary in nature, and that it was “occupational,” or that normal working conditions over a period of time exposed them to an increase risk of contracting the virus.

“Given the pervasive economic, social, and employment disruptions that COVID-19 created globally, it is hard to imagine that any employee’s work environment during this time to be anything approximating ‘normal,’” Campbell said. “While it is possible that an Alabama court could deem their environment the ‘new normal,’ so to speak, it remains questionable whether a claimant could meet this normalcy requirement.” The causal link between the occupational disease and employment likely would be the most difficult part of establishing compensability, she added.

“Based on the foregoing, as Alabama law currently stands, employees who contract COVID-19 would face an uphill battle in proving compensability,” Campbell concluded. “Nevertheless, certain professions, specifically first responders or those in the healthcare field, may have an easier time establishing legal causation.”

For the full article, please click here.


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