Right now, the United States is facing an unprecedented situation with the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus and social distancing efforts to reduce the number of people who contract it. However, even though many Chicago area businesses are closed, some essential workers still are on the job. Doctors, nurses and emergency responders are on the front lines, treating COVID-19 patients. Grocery store workers are keeping products stocked and helping customers get what they need. Restaurant workers are manning drive-through and takeout services, and warehouse employees are making sure needed supplies reach their destination.

Contracting COVID-19 at work

Because COVID-19 is so contagious, more than likely a number of these essential employees, especially health care workers, may contract the virus at work. If you contract the virus on the job, you likely will be unable to work for up to 14 days. If you develop more serious symptoms, you may need a hospital stay to recover. And sadly, some essential employees will die of the virus. Already five health-care workers have died from the COVID-19 virus in the United States.

COVID-19 and workers’ comp

However, most employees who contract COVID-19 at work won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation. Lawmakers in Minnesota are debating about expanding workers’ comp to cover first responders who get COVID-19, but that’s in the early stages. If you work in a warehouse or grocery store and contract COVID-19 from a coworker, you likely won’t qualify for worker’s comp.

Only in cases where an employee dies after likely contracting the virus at work would their dependents be eligible for benefits through workers’ compensation. But those funds don’t cover pain and suffering.

Workers’ compensation is complicated when it comes to situations like contracting COVID-19. If your loved one lost their life after contracting the virus at work, you should contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney about how to file a claim.