New Jersey COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Workers’ Compensation for Essential Workers Who Contract COVID-19
Under New Jersey Law, it is not necessary for essential workers who developed COVID-19 to prove how it was that they contracted the virus. Instead, there is a legal presumption that any essential worker who contracted the virus, and worked with the public, contracted it through work and are therefore eligible for Workers Compensation benefits. These benefits can include payment of their medical expenses, reimbursement for their lost wages, as well as compensation based upon their degree of disability. Should an essential worker have passed away from COVID-19, there are also long-term survivor benefits available for their families. Essential workers include not only emergency and healthcare workers, but also grocery and retail workers, transportation and delivery personnel, people working in the restaurant and the service industry, as well as essentially anyone else who provided needed goods, services or assistance to the public during the course of the pandemic.
You may be entitled to benefits if:
- You are an essential worker who contracted COVID-19; or
- You are the surviving family member of an essential worker who died as a result of COVID-19.
Thanks to legislation passed by the efforts of advocates like Partner Rich Marcolus, New Jersey has a legal presumption that anessential worker’s contraction of COVID-19 is work related, thereby entitling them to benefits. New Jersey has a broad definition of “essential worker” and many workers quality.
Levinson Axelrod can evaluate if you qualify for benefits and fight for the compensation you deserve. We serve clients across New Jersey from multiple offices and offer FREE consultations.
Leaders in Essential Worker COVID-19 Exposure Cases
- We helped pass the state’s essential worker COVID-19 presumption law.
- We won New Jersey’s first court order awarding workers’ compensation to an essential worker.
- We’ve handled some of the first occupational exposure cases arising from the pandemic.
In addition to helping pass the state’s COVID-19 presumption law, our firm secured benefits for a corrections officer who contracted the coronavirus in what is believed to be the first court order in New Jersey awarding workers’ compensation benefits to an essential worker.
New Law Entitles Essential Workers in New Jersey to Workers’ Comp for COVID-19
A new law now makes it is easier for essential workers who contract COVID-19 to collect benefits under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system. Some key facts about the law:
- The law was signed by Gov. Murphy in September 2020 and is retroactive to March 9, 2020.
- It creates a legal presumption that an essential worker’s COVID-19 is work-related.
- The only way to defeat the presumption is to prove a worker was not exposed to COVID at their workplace.
In workers’ comp cases, claimants must typically prove their injury or illness is job related in order to receive benefits. Because it is largely impossible to prove when or where a person contracts an airborne virus like COVID-19, the law presumes an essential worker’s exposure to COVID is related to their work.
This means that if you’re an essential worker, you only need to prove that:
- You contracted COVID-19; and
- You meet the broad legal definition of “essential worker”.
Changing the law to create a presumption of causation was a major victory for essential workers and the product of advocacy efforts from our firm and Partner Rich Marcolus.
Mr. Marcolus, a NJ Supreme Court Certified Workers’ Comp Specialist, testified in support of the essential worker COVID presumption bill before a state lawmakers and helped pass the Canzanella Act, which protects first responders. Both of these laws now protect the hard-working men and women who put their bodies at risk to provide our communities with essential services during the pandemic.
Who Qualifies as an Essential Worker?
The law broadly defines “essential worker” as:
- An employee considered essential in emergency response and recovery operations; or
- A public or private employee with duties and responsibilities essential to public health, safety, and welfare.
This broad definition means many different types of essential workers may qualify for benefits after contracting COVID-19. Some examples include:
- Public safety workers / first responders such as firefighters, police, EMTs, and other emergency service workers.
- Health care providers and employees who provide emergency transportation, social services, and other care services in health care facilities or homes.
- Employees who work in physical proximity to the public and are essential to public health, safety, and welfare, such as workers in transportation, hotels and hospitality, residential services, financial services, and the production, preparation, storage, sale, and distribution of essential goods such as food, beverages, medicine, fuel, and supplies for conducting essential business and work at home; or
- Other persons deemed essential workers by the authority declaring the state of emergency.
If you are unsure if you qualify as an essential worker under New Jersey workers’ compensation laws, Levinson Axelrod can evaluate your case, job duties, and eligibility for benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for COVID-19
Essential workers and families who suffer losses due to COVID-19 are entitled to benefits such as:
- Medical expenses for needed treatment
- Temporary benefits for lost wages
- Compensation upon a finding of permanent illness
- Death benefits
The presumption of causation clears many obstacles for essential workers who file for workers’ compensation after contracting COVID-19, but it doesn’t mean you will automatically awarded sufficient benefits. Our New Jersey COVID-19 workers’ comp attorneys at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. can help you build the strongest possible claim to protect your right to benefits and recover the amount you need.
Why Choose Levinson Axelrod, P.A?
Levinson Axelrod, P.A. has led the charge in advocating for workers who put their lives on the line during the pandemic. We’re trusted by workers and families statewide because we have the resources to win.
- We’re a U.S. News’ “Best Law Firms” Tier 1 Workers’ Compensation firm.
- We have won over $1 billion for clients and more than $350 million in the past five years alone.
- Our team includes Workers’ Comp and Civil Trial Specialists Certified by the NJ Supreme Court – a distinction earned by less than 3% of attorneys.
If you are an essential worker who contracted COVID-19 or have an essential worker family member who died from COVID-19, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Call or contact us online to discuss your rights with a New Jersey COVID exposure lawyer from Levinson Axelrod, P.A.