There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many employers to become concerned about their liability for illnesses. Now that almost half of all U.S. states have reopened for business, some employers are wondering: Should they expect a flood of workers’ compensation claims if their workers get the coronavirus?
As the founder and President of Lanier Law Group, P.A., Lisa Lanier was recently interviewed by Lawyer Monthly on this exact topic. In an article titled Coronavirus: Will We See a Rise of Workers’ Compensation Claims?, Lisa offered her insight and expertise to help employers understand the connection between COVID-19 and workers’ compensation laws.
As Lisa shared in the interview, it’s unlikely that employers will need to worry about astronomical rates of workers’ compensation claims. In her home state of North Carolina – as in many states – injured workers have to show “that the disease is a characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade or occupation, and not an ordinary disease of life that the public is equally exposed to.” While healthcare workers might qualify due to the heightened risks of their jobs, the course of COVID-19 is so short that workers’ compensation might not be the best route.
Lisa also shared her thoughts on how employers can keep workers safe, recommending that businesses turn to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for up-to-date health guidelines and recommendations. And although employers may not face added workers’ comp claims, Lisa added that there are at least four categories of civil liability that could arise for COVID-19 infection.
These four categories of liability include:
- Employment law claims related to COVID-19 termination and retaliation
- Personal injury lawsuits against businesses that do not take precautions to protect customers
- Business litigation over supply contracts, due to COVID-19 closures and delays
- Insurance litigation for businesses with interruption insurance
At Lanier Law Group, P.A., we take pride in “going the distance” on behalf of injured individuals and workers. With millions won for our clients throughout North Carolina, our experienced attorneys have followed Lisa’s lead in building a reputation for success. If you have a legal concern about your liability during the COVID-19 pandemic, we invite you to contact our team and schedule a free consultation.
Call us at (855) 757-4204 to get started with a consultation! We continue to remain open for business and offer video conferencing and teleconferencing services.