Are Minnesota Nurses Who Contract Coronavirus Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

As Coronavirus-related restrictions phase-out, more Minnesotans, including a significant number of healthcare workers, including nurses, are contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19). In fact, on May 20, 2020, the Star Tribune reported that “health care workers constitute 1,949 of Minnesota’s 17,029 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.” [1]

Minnesota nurses, from Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis to St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, are at an increased risk of developing Coronavirus because they are on the front lines, providing direct care to patients who have contracted Coronavirus or who have Coronavirus-like symptoms.

In addition, many Minnesota nurses still do not have access to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that they need to perform their job duties safely. Some healthcare facilities have adopted pandemic conservation policies and may be rationing or reusing PPE.

As reported by Kare 11, Sarah White, an Emergency Room Nurse at United Hospital in Fridley, contracted Coronavirus, which she believes was the result insufficient PPE and not being allowed to wear her N95 mask for certain procedures.[2]

If you are a nurse who has contracted Coronavirus, there are options. New legislation in Minnesota creates a presumption that first responders, including nurses, who contract Coronavirus are presumed to have contracted the virus as a result of their job duties, making it easier for them to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Many Minnesota nurses are worried about speaking out, because they fear losing their jobs. However, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation retaliation is against the law and could result in penalties.

Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits include (1) medical benefits, (2) wage-loss benefits, (3) vocational rehabilitation services, and (4) permanent partial disability.

The effects of Coronavirus vary from person-to-person. Even if your symptoms are mild, it is important to establish your rights to workers’ compensation benefits, because the long-term effects of Coronavirus are unknown. If, unfortunately, you or someone you care about does not survive the virus, death and dependency benefits may be available to provide income protection to surviving family members.

If you are a nurse who has contracted, or suspect that you have contracted Coronavirus, the attorneys at Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. are available to discuss your rights. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION.

 

[1] Minnesota nurses fear for safety as a possible COVID-19 case surge looms, Star Tribune, Jeremy Olson, May 20, 2020, https://www.startribune.com/minnesota-nurses-fear-for-safety-as-a-possible-covid-19-case-surge-looms/570609252/

[2] Recovered from coronavirus, MN nurse questions protective equipment rules, Kare 11, Lou Raguse, April 27, 2020, updated April 28, 2020, https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/recovered-from-coronavirus-mn-nurse-questions-protective-equipment-rules/89-b587f81e-8412-4b55-91fe-55fac934c3ba

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