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Re: COVID-19 versus Worker's Comp ? ? ? ?

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I think I have my finger on the pusle of the towing and recovery industry where I knew it would be only a matter of time before the topic of, "Worker's Compensation for virus related exposure", raised its ugly head. The good news? As far as I know, I haven't learned of any bonifide cases where tow operators were diagnosed and confirmed with Coronavirus.


I spoke to a tow company owner who sent two tow operators to an emergency room to be tested for Coronavirus (sorry, I won't disclose who, what company or where). Within a short time, the first tower went home being diagnosed with the common flu. Soon after, the second operator was diagnosed also with the common flu. Thankfully, both dodged the nasty virus bullet and were cleared to return to work by their doctors.  The newest challenge to  effect tow businesses is the potential of tow company employees claiming they were sickened by Coronavirus. As an essential worker serving law enforcement and the motoring public, sure, there's a solid chance that exposure can occur. In the scenario mentioned above, the tow company's owner immediately sent them for evaluation and I felt it was a really, really smart move.


So, the pending question I pose is, “Are tow company employees considered, “injured”, if they come down with the virus? Owners should understand that exposure to Coronavirus could result in a necessary Worker’s Compensation claim, but only if the exposure was contracted during a work-related even. Claims related to the virus are evaluated case by case and state by individual state. remember, this is the first time that the conditions of, "being sick", are far different than workers have a comon illness.


OWNERS:  Because of the severity and signifficance of Coronavirus versus the common cold or flu, seek an immediate medical determination which is the basis of a WC claim ... don't wait. If one of your drivers or employees come down with flu-like symptoms, don't wait to have them examined as soon as possible. If they have only a cold or flu, it too should run its course. In most cases, a common cold or flu does NOT qualify as a Worker's Comp injury. I recommend that owners self-educate what reporting requirments may be necessary in the event of a valid and diagnosed COVID-19 exposure. Since you have the time, why not contact your WC provider and ask them about your responsibilities?  


OSHA website for further information:     https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html


DRIVERS & EMPLOYEES:  If you feel you're coming down with a cold or flu-like symptoms, tell your boss immediately. A decision should be made to have you sent to a facility for evaluation. If you are evaluated, let your boss know what the doctor's findings were; don't simply go home, try and convalesce and not have conversation with them. 


This information is not medical or insurance advice, but sent for information purposes only.        R.



Randall C. Resch

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I feel that determining that the operator contracted the virus while at work is going to be difficult which may be an issue when trying to apply for workers comp. If I understand this right, the virus can incubate for up to 14 days from the time of exposure. 


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