Are Workers’ Comp Benefits Affected by COVID-19?
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 $750 million 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.
Although my accident was fortunately not a major one, The Phillips Law Group AZ treated it as such. Their staff, specifically Mr Juan Roque was very professional, courteous and most importantly very informative. Mr Roque's attentive service was phenomenal and I highly recommend this firm!
PLG is the best! Highly recommend. Love that they do so much to help the community.
Sophia H. at Phillips Law Group has been an absolute joy to work with -quick, responsive, and professional in every interaction. Her breadth of knowledge, from administration to IT to finance, is nothing short of impressive.
Jasmine helped me so so much I want to thank her ! And also Aaron , i was always scared after an accident , knowing I would have to deal with lawyers but not here . Luckily I’ve only been in 3 accidents but this time it was fast and easy . And i received all the treatments I needed to help me recover ! Thank you Jasmine and Aaron!
Great experience! Took care of pretty much everything, and I always felt like I want in good hands. Caroline Fa. was also a great help with everything. She always returned my calls and I never felt unheard. Even after my case she would still help me with my insurance documents.
Thank you Phillips Law Group for all the support and back to school assistance we appreciate it.
Jeffrey Phillips is truly a brilliant attorney and businessman. I would not hesitate for a moment to contact him if I needed a personal injury attorney in Arizona, you would be fortunate to have him and his team. If you have a car accident, slip and fall in a store, or get punched in the face, call Phillips.
My Attorney Sean Davis and his paralegal Hannah Dustin worked on my case. They listened to the problems that I was having with my case and they both got right to work. First they found me a doctor that actually listened to my problems from my car accident and worked quickly to form a plan that was comfortable for me and the doctor. The doctor was the best and after a couple of procedures the pain in my neck was gone. Behind the scenes Sean and Hannah were working hard to get my case settled with the insurance company. They kept in contact with me on all aspects of my case. They settled my case much faster than I expected and for more than I was expecting. If you want two real professional legal people to work on your case, I would highly recommend Sean and Hannah to you. I cannot say enough nice things about these two. Thank you so much, Rickey Hart .
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.
Jasmine , did a great job . Highly recommend!!!!!