NEW JERSEY WORKERS OR EMPLOYEES WHO CONTRACT COVID-19 AND ARE CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL WORKERS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED WITH A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THE DIAGNOSIS IS RELATED TO WORK AND COMPENSABLE.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to be front and center in our lives. As an injured worker in New Jersey, it is important that you know your rights relating to COVID-19. The laws in New Jersey were expanded to cover Essential Workers such as first respondents, healthcare workers, and a catch all for “employees working to provide essential goods and services”. The law provides a rebuttable presumption for these workers that if they get COVID-19, it is related to work. This means an essential worker is presumed to have been exposed from the work environment. The Workers Compensation Carrier will have the burden to prove the diagnosis of COVID-19 did not occur at work. This presumption only applies to exposures which occurred during Governor Murphy’s State of Emergency.
Some listed examples of Essential Workers in the new law include Police, Fire, and EMTs Responders, Medical Personnel who work in close proximity to members of the public. However, the law’s catchall provision will most likely cover non-medical workers such as Grocery workers.
It is understandable that after the initial diagnosis, any injured worker is preoccupied with the illness itself. However, once a worker is diagnosed, he or she should notify the employer. The more we are learning about COVID-19, it appears several injured worker continue to have lingering effects far after the initial sickness. The term for a person with lasting symptoms after the initial diagnosis are called “Long Haulers”. In fact, New Jersey now has Long Hauler Clinics for these injured workers or patients. Given approval from the workers compensation carrier is critical to the workers financial and medical wellbeing.
If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the Pandemic and may be an essential worker, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your rights, including how long you have to file a Claim for injuries.
Brian A. Roemersma, Esq.
THE FOEGOING IS ONLY A GENERL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE TO DISCUSS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS.