202003.18
0

Workplace Exposure to COVID-19 and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

by

COVID-19, otherwise known as the “coronavirus”, is having a huge impact throughout our entire country. While we pray no one reading this gets sick from it, the reality is that there is a good chance you might. And we want to make sure you know your rights ahead of time if you are exposed to it at work.

First, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been struck by this virus. We pray for quick healing and that those who haven’t contracted it remain healthy. We also want to recognize the immensely difficult task our leaders have tackled in preparing for and reacting to the virus as well as the undaunting task of keeping people as informed about the facts as possible. Black & Jones want to extend our sincerest gratitude to those on the frontlines of this fight: our healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and all employees who, despite the risk to themselves, keep pushing forward to diagnose, isolate, and treat the ill. I encourage everyone to keep informed by following trusted authoritative sources for information like the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The reality is that despite our best efforts, more people will catch this virus. Once infected, you may require medical treatment which can be costly. You will certainly lose income as you are quarantined and prohibited from working which could last 14 days or longer. People will feel the effects of the virus both physically and financially. That’s why I wanted to take a moment and remind you about some of your legal rights if you do happen to encounter the virus.

Unfortunately, not every exposure in the workplace will be considered a workplace injury under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. For example, if you are exposed to the virus because your co-worker in the next cubical or on the assembly line next to you was a carrier, it would not likely be considered a workplace injury. However, if your job is such where you are exposed to the virus to a greater degree than the general public, then it may be considered a work-related injury.

For example, take the workers on the frontline I mentioned above. If a nurse in an emergency room is treating patients day in and day out who are carriers of the virus and the nurse gets sick, it is likely a work-related injury for which she is entitled to compensation. Certainly, her job required her to be in a position where she was exposed to the virus far more than the general public. The same can be said of people required to be working in and around quarantined areas, our first responders, maintenance or cleaning crews, airline workers, and the like. If these workers catch the virus, they may be entitled to both medical and financial benefits from their employer.

If you are diagnosed with COVID19 and you think your exposure occurred at work, I strongly encourage you to contact Black & Jones Attorneys at Law to set up a free consultation with Attorney Tracy Jones. We will be happy to review the facts of your circumstances and help you determine if you may be entitled to compensation. Call us today at 815-967-9000.

A NOTE TO CLIENTS:
COVID19, otherwise known as the “coronavirus”, is having a huge impact throughout our entire country. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been struck by this virus. We pray for quick healing and that those who haven’t contracted it remain healthy.
We also want to recognize the immensely difficult task our leaders have tackled in preparing for and reacting to the virus as well as the daunting task of keeping people as informed about the facts as possible. Black & Jones want to extend our sincerest gratitude to those on the frontlines of this fight: our healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and all employees who, despite the risk to themselves, keep pushing forward to diagnose, isolate, and treat the ill.

At Black & Jones, the health and safety of our clients and staff are of utmost importance to us. Therefore, we have instituted measures to make sure that our employees and our clients are safe when they come to our office. We are more than happy to offer appointments by telephone or video conference. This will limit our staff from having inadvertent exposure and protect our clients who do not want to risk exposure by going into public places. Much of the communication we have with our clients can be as equally effective via phone.

We also have the ability to obtain electronic signatures where needed and to transmit information electronically where requested.
We recognize that cases cannot advance unless your attorneys are willing to appear in court to fight for you. While we want to minimize risk to our team of attorneys, you can trust that Black & Jones will continue to litigate cases and appear in court whenever necessary to advance our clients’ cases. We will closely monitor the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and local Courts regarding closures or other modifications made to operations and will remain active in our participation with organizations that have input into such procedures.

You can trust that Black & Jones will continue to serve our clients while protecting the health and safety of clients and staff. Thank you for trusting us with your case!