JACKSONVILLE, Fla — If you think you caught coronavirus while on the job, can you claim workers compensation for your time out and medical bills?
Florida CFO, Jimmy Patronis, has ordered that all state workers on the front lines will be covered, but what about other workers? As people are urged to stay home and self-isolate, for some jobs that is more challenging than others.
Grocery store workers, warehouse workers and others may not be able to work from home currently. If an employee contracts coronavirus, can you prove you got it while on the job?
"It's not possible," says attorney Jake Schickel.
Schickel is an attorney with Coker Law Firm in Jacksonville and board certified in workers compensation.
"It is very difficult right now unless you are a state worker on the front lines dealing with COVID-19 cases," he explains.
He says proving definitely that you were exposed at work and not by a family member or in some other aspect of life would be extremely difficult. If you feel you were exposed at work and contracted coronavirus, keep all your documentation and notify your manager because it could be helpful in the future if the legislature makes a change in the law regarding coronavirus.
"Because if the legislature comes back and says if you are in one of these particular type jobs where you come in contact with the public and got it, you're covered," tells Schickel.
He does warn, that likely won't be happening anytime soon.
So keep your own records of those you interacted with even if your family members were healthy to a coworker who was infected; that could help your case later.
"If a coworker that sits two feet from you develops it and then you get it, then that is going to make it closer to workplace injury," he explains.
It is not conclusive proof, but it is helpful as we all navigate this new pandemic.