Protections for Health Care Workers Against COVID-19 Lawsuits
It’s becoming increasingly routine to support that a piece of legislation with a specific purported aim is doing literally the opposite of what it claims to do. As an example, the Florida Congress recently announced broadscale protections “for frontline hero health care workers” against “junk COVID-19 lawsuits.”
There are at least three reasons why this is plainly deceptive:
- Lawsuits are only filed against doctors and hospitals, not directly against health care workers
- Health care workers who have applied for workers’ compensation after contracting the illness have had their claims denied on the basis that they cannot prove where or how they contracted the illness.
- Healthcare workers who have their workers’ compensation claims denied are now in the position where they cannot sue their employer if their workers’ compensation claim is denied.
It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that the new COVID protections harm health care workers while naming them heroes and the supposed beneficiaries of these very misguided bills.
Workers’ Compensation in Florida
Nearly every Florida employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It has become increasingly more common for essential workers to file workers’ compensation claims after contracting COVID-19. However, like most personal injury attorneys know, it is nearly impossible to prove how you contracted the virus. This avails the insurance company the opportunity to unilaterally deny these claims and force the workers to fight. Fighting sometimes means litigating the claim. But often, if the claim is outright denied, the worker may file a lawsuit against their employer that failed to protect them from a known danger. In this case, workers injured or killed on the job due to COVID-19 have no means of remedy available to them. Once their workers’ compensation claim has been denied, the insurance company can turn to stone and delay the process indefinitely. Meanwhile, the worker has no right to recover lost income and medical expenses even though their injuries were a result of their essential work.
In other words, the “heroes” that are on the front lines are the first people who will get cheated of money they would routinely be paid in just about any other situation. It also helps to remember that our heroes on the front line are also the most likely to contract the virus.
While insurance companies have not denied every claim related to COVID-19, it’s impossible to prove to an insurance company that you did not contract the virus off the job. Since you cannot prove where you caught the virus, they can deny the claim. Typically, your remedy would be to file a lawsuit, but you can’t.
So the question becomes: Who is actually benefiting from the new legislation?
Talk to a Miami Injury Lawyer Today
If your employer’s workers’ compensation policy has rejected your claim, call the Miami workers’ compensation attorneys at Payer Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.