“Quarantine,” “vaccine💉,” “social distancing,” “isolation,” and similar terms have been mentioned frequently in the past year. People are asking new questions, such as “What does employer’s liability coverage cover for COVID?” and “Can I catch COVID from eating in a restaurant?” In fact, the Irish Times🗞️ states that “Covid—the shorthand for COVID-19—has the most citations ever recorded in the 21st century.” Why is this so?🤷🏽♂️
Yeah, you probably already know why. Coronavirus, one of the deadliest viruses to ever exist, hit humanity real hard in the early months of 2020. This brought about a worldwide🌎 economic and social shutdown as many nations of the world went on a protracted lockdown. For employers and employees alike, this has begged a new issue: What does employer’s liability coverage cover for COVID? Let’s explore that in this article and see what employer’s liability coverage might do for you in the age of coronavirus.
Pandemic Woes for Workers
The United States of America (USA) was, of course, heavily affected by this viral saga. It recorded and reported its first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV infection on January 20, 2020. At the time of writing, 39.6 million people have gotten sick and 654,000 have died in the country. The states of California, Florida, and Texas have topped the charts📈.
As the world staggers back to its feet after the creation of several vaccines, normal life routines are slowly🐢 returning. Children👩👧👦 are back in school🏫; colleges, pubs, and hotels reopened; and workers and employers have returned to their offices.
The United States is, however, not yet rid of the COVID menace. The New York Times📰 tells us there were over 100,000 new cases in August. So, employers must, alongside hand sanitizers and thermometers, procure efficient “employer’s liability coverage” to prevent their businesses from collapse due to employee lawsuits⚖️. If you’re an employee, this is definitely something you should pay attention to as well.
What Is Employer’s Liability Coverage?
Employer’s Liability Coverage is insurance against common law liability of an employer for accidents to employees. This is separate from general worker’s compensation liability. In fact, it is sometimes termed a “Part 2” of a workers’ compensation policy.
When an employee contracts and illness 🤒 or hurts themselves in a work-related activity, the employee can sue the employer and demand compensation. Employer liability coverage protects the employer against such occurrences.
COVID complicates this matter even more. The US Department of Labor has made it clear that any job that requires employees to stay within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes⏲️ or more puts them at risk. Yes, various practices like washing hands👏, wearing face masks😷, and using sanitizers greatly reduce the spread of the COVID-19. However, workers in various sectors still stand at risk of contracting the virus🦠 during work-related activities.
This should make every job owner see the need to get adequate employer liability coverage. However, insurance doesn’t cover everything, and it’s good to know what is and isn’t covered.
What Does Employer’s Liability Coverage Cover?
There are different levels of employer liability coverage based on the level of risk covered, previous occurrences, and the like. However, there are some basics it almost always covers. These include:
- Compensation payouts: The insurance covers medical bills incurred during treatment, the loss of income💰 due to the inability of an employee to work due to COVID-19, etc.
- Legal Fees: If an employee decides to sue despite compensation negotiations, the insurance will cover the legal fees of the employer💼.
- Loss of Consortium: If a family👨👩👧👦 member or an employee faces a loss because of injury🤕 or death of that employee, they can sue the employer for a loss of consortium. The employer liability coverage covers this.
- Consequential Bodily Injury🤕: If the spouse of an employee with COVID-19 contracts it, they can file a lawsuit against the employer. They can sue claiming illness🤒 is due to the previous illness of their spouse. The insurance covers such claims.
- False or Frivolous claims: It is possible that an employee falsified👎 claims as to the cause of their illness. Employer’s liability coverage provides adequate research to ensure employees do not take advantage of their employers.
Why Might This Affect You?
Employers have to realize that the funds💵 and business reputation are in jeopardy if a worker (like you) sues them for work-related mishaps. Injuries and illnesses in the workplace are almost inevitable, and employers’ liability coverage can cover lapses. This happens all the time.
Employer’s Liability Coverage in Action: Two Case Studies
In 2017, Nestle USA Inc.’s lost its appeal to a court’s decision over Shawn Gallen’s case. This worker👷♂️ of over 20 years was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and brain🧠 injuries. Furthermore, Mr. Gallen had claimed he had contracted the bacteria🧫 from cleaning one of the company’s vending machines🎰. The court ruled in his favor, concluding the claimant was entitled to indemnity benefits, minus a credit for short-term disability payments, and medical benefits.
The company appealed against the decision and lost. Mr. Gallen is still sick, but at least he got compensation. For Nestle, the employer’s liability coverage adequately covers the cost incurred in the case above.
Let’s look at another case where a specialist employee developed a severe stress condition and was fired❌. He filed a claim that the nature of his job caused his medical issues. Court⚖️ ended up awarding damages of $200,000 to the man. The employer’s liability policy covered this award.
The legal costs were around $80,000. Therefore, employer’s liability coverage is so crucial in the age of COVID. The risks involved are just too high for the company otherwise. Plus, the insurance is a better guarantee to you as a worker that you’ll receive compensation if you’re wrong.
Accessing the Right Legal Advice for Employer’s Liability Coverage for COVID
A popular saying goes, “In case you can’t be there to catch them, make sure you leave a safety net.” However, most workers don’t have the legal expertise to ensure the content of an employer’s liability insurance📃. Therefore, they may need to consult a legal practitioner to make sure they are on track to receive a good payout if they should get sick on the job📈.
When seeking compensation for COVID-19 damages, the careful eyes👀 of a seasoned attorney can make sure you get the best possible deal. Contact us today to get started!