If an employee dies from Coronavirus after contracting the virus at work, would that death be compensable under workers compensation benefits?
Workers compensation coverage includes compensable benefits for occupational diseases. In order to receive those benefits, the employee generally must prove they contracted the disease in the course of their employment. Coverage restrictions require the employee to prove that the general public was not equally exposed to the disease, and that the disease was peculiar to the work being performed.
Still, there are documented cases of employees receiving work comp benefits for contracting dermatitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis at work. While employees have the burden of proving a disease was an occupational hazard, courts typically interpret coverage and benefits in favor of employees.
Hopefully, the Coronavirus will be contained before a work comp benefits test case is presented to the courts.