Does Workers’ Compensation Cover the Lingering Effects from a COVID-19 Diagnosis?
There’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that COVID-19 continues to impact some patients long after the acute illness has resolved in the body. These ongoing symptoms have been categorized as “long COVID” or “long COVID-19”. At Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, we are representing a number of clients who are experiencing the lingering effects of their COVID-19 diagnosis and asking how this will affect their workers’ compensation claim.
In Minnesota, injuries or conditions that develop after contracting COVID-19 may be compensable under the workers’ compensation statute. Generally, non-first responders who contract COVID-19 at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for their lost wages, medical treatment, and more associated with both the immediate and long-term effects of the virus. Under Minnesota Statutes § 176.011, subdivision 15, first responders, including but not limited to, police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, state patrol officers, paramedics, EMTs, and nurses are entitled to the same benefits when they contract the virus; however, first responders receive the added benefit of a legal presumption that their COVID-19 illness was contracted at work.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic continue to study and document long-term damage to the heart muscle, lung tissue, blood vessels, and brain. The list of symptoms includes fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain, chest pain, memory or concentration problems (“brain fog”), muscle pain, headache, increased heart rate, loss of smell or taste, fever, dizziness, and depression or anxiety. Additionally, the effects of long COVID can increase risk of heart failure, long-term breathing problems, stroke, seizures, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Since the pandemic began, our firm has seen many cases involving severe after-effects of COVID-19. For example, one client had a stroke and suffered permanent injuries that led to memory loss, vision issues, and more while he was recovering from COVID-19. Similarly, other clients who had previously contracted COVID-19 later experienced light headedness, atrial fibrillation (AFIB), increased heart rate, fatigue, mental fogginess, and mental health symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you previously contracted COVID-19, and you’re experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms or conditions, it’s important to understand your rights and the benefits that you may be entitled to receive. Waiting to pursue a claim could jeopardize your potential benefits based on statute of limitations or notice issues. Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. for a free, confidential consultation to assess your workers’ compensation claim and determine what benefits you are owed. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.