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Getting COVID-19 at work could be covered under Workers' Compensation Benefits

Many essential workers still have to leave their homes everyday, putting them at risk of contracting COVID-19.

While a lot of people are working from home or not working at all right now, there are still plenty of essential workers who have to leave their homes and go to work every day.

Which means they could possibly be exposed to COVID-19.

It's a risk the essential workers take.

More than 600 Pennsylvanians have filed for workers' compensation claims since this pandemic began.

A local lawyer explains how they may get some help.

"What you want to do is file a worker's compensation claim. That's not taking sick time or unemployment compensation or anything. That's medical bills and if you miss work for 5 days or 7 days then you start receiving two-thirds of your average weekly wage," said Scott Cooper, attorney for Schmidt Kramer.

To see any benefits, you'll have to file that claim with the State Department of Labor and Industry in a timely matter.

"You need to bring that within 21 days of being exposed to it and you get the virus," said Cooper.

Here's the tricky part, you would have to prove that you got COVID-19 while you were at work.

So, the lawyer recommends essential workers keep track of all of their comings and goings.

"If you can show, all I did was go from Sheetz to my house and I live alone, then there's no other way you could have gotten it."

There's another option too.

The lawyer says occupational exposure claims may work for healthcare workers.

"Which is basically saying an inordinate amount of people in my occupation have this disease and therefore you can infer that this coverage exists for the COVID-19 injury I'm having."

Cooper says generally this would cover both full-time and part-time employees.

However, independent contractors are probably not covered.

If you file a claim and it's denied, you do have up to three years from the date of injury to file a Claim Petition to get the injury covered under Workers' Compensation.