Are Workers’ Comp Benefits Affected by COVID-19?
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- Are Workers’ Comp Benefits Affected by COVID-19?
August 5, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented crisis that has affected almost everything in society. This has raised many questions about a wide variety of issues, such as workplace injuries and filing workers’ compensation claims.
If you have any questions about workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona, or if you have already filed a claim, we encourage you to seek legal assistance from our Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyers at Phillips Law Group. We have helped many injured employees recover benefits, and we have extensive knowledge of how to appeal denied claims.
The consultation is free and comes with no obligation to take legal action. That means no risk to you in contacting us.
Do I Still Need to Seek In-Person Treatment?
As always, you should report the injury right away and get medical treatment. You may be concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19 if you go to the hospital or a doctor’s office, which is understandable.
Fortunately, health care providers have responded to this crisis by treating more patients remotely through video options, like Zoom or Facetime, or by speaking on the phone.
Governor’s Executive Order
On March 25, 2020, Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order to expand telemedicine. Health insurance plans regulated by the Arizona Department of Insurance, as well as plans that are part of Arizona Medicaid, are included under this order.
The governor issued another order stating that workers’ compensation insurance plans, self-insurance plans and the Special Fund can set reasonable requirements and parameters for telehealth services. However, these requirements and parameters may not be more, or less, favorable to health care providers or injured workers than the parameters or requirements for in-person health care services.
The governor’s order also defines an injured victim’s home as an approved location to receive telemedicine services under his or her workers’ compensation insurance plan.
The order says telehealth services may be administered by any health care providers licensed in Arizona, such as:
- Physician assistants
- Advanced practice nurses
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
Unless approval is granted by the Industrial Commission of Arizona in a case of suspected fraud, workers’ compensation carriers cannot require injured workers to submit to in-person medical examinations or in-person medical treatment.
Can I File a Claim for Contracting COVID-19?
Some people may contract the virus while at work, particularly if they are health care providers who treat infected patients. If this happens, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, it may be difficult to establish where you contracted the COVID-19 virus, as it is so widespread and easily transmissible.
On May 14, 2020, the Industrial Commission of Arizona made an announcement about adjusting COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims. The announcement says COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims cannot be categorically denied. State law requires claim denials to be based on the facts of the claim and warranted under existing law.
Workers’ compensation insurers should consider various factors, including but not limited to:
- Nature of your employment and the risk of contracting the virus
- Whether an identifiable exposure happened at work
- Whether an identifiable exposure occurred outside of work
- Amount of time between exposure and developing symptoms
- Reliability of medical or other evidence that your work-related exposure caused you to develop the disease
It may be easier to prove workplace exposure if you work in a high-risk job, such as if you are a first responder, doctor, nurse or other health care provider. Other high-risk jobs include retail jobs or jobs where you regularly interact with customers.
If you have reason to believe your exposure to the virus happened at work, you should notify your employer. Meeting with a qualified lawyer is also an important step to take.
Could the Process be Delayed?
You may experience delays with your claim. For example, you may need to seek in-person treatment and it may take longer than usual to get an appointment. However, you should still be proactive with your claim. Keep your employer informed about delays and get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Call Today to Find Out How We May Be Able to Help
Workers’ compensation benefits are often a financial lifeline for employees who get hurt on the job. However, pursuing benefits on your own can be difficult, particularly if your claim is initially denied.
We recommend that you consider working with a licensed attorney with a history of results. Phillips Law Group has obtained more than $1 billion in compensation on behalf of injured victims in Arizona.
Read what some of our satisfied clients said about the services we provided.
Phillips Law Group: 1-800-706-3000 . No upfront fees.
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PLG is the best! Highly recommend. Love that they do so much to help the community.
Kathy Hudson and Donato Giovanatto. Continues to go above and beyond the call of duty. Reaching out to the insurance company about the damage to the vehicle. Forcing them to take responsibility.
I enjoy my work day here at Phillips Law Group and generally speaking I love my clients. Every day brings a new client or task to keep me on my toes. Administration keeps open communication and is hilarious most of the time! I love the way we celebrate FRIDAY, holidays and birthdays and how everything is so competitive. All in all I’m so fortunate to be here and I enjoy what I do.
I would like to send special thanks to Phillips Law Group for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Best Law Firm here in the Valley. During these troubling times with the epidemic, Phillips Law Group has masterfully created this family-like environment while still maintaining a professional and business-like approach for all their clients. Thru impeccable leadership that is unmatched by other law firms to the Multi-diverse employment opportunities that many employees advance within the firm; Phillips Law Group has not only distanced themselves from all other competition in the Personal Injury field but also has innovatively changed the narrative of being a great law institution. From providing Employee Appreciation Day to celebrating all major Holiday including great competitive contests; Phillips Law Group has the total participation of all employees to help contribute to the continued success of this firm. So in closing I would like to thank Senior Administration (Jeffery Phillips, Eva Chiaramonte, and Tim Tonkin) along with all of my colleagues and many friends for help making Phillips Law Group a unique and wonderful place to call my place of employment for 6+ years.
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The lawyers here are of top quality. Especially Trey Dayes, who was always respectful and hard-working.
I just wanted to thank Phillips law Group and Vanessa Rodriguez for all the help that she did for my daughter’s case. She was involved in her first accident and she needed the help to deal with these adjusters. Thank you again.
If you are in need of legal support for a motor vehicle collision of any kind, I highly recommend going to Phillips Law Group Injury Lawyers. Sean Davis has exemplary knowledge and experience in this field, compassion for his clients, and excellent judgment and communication skills.
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