What Happens if COVID-19 Forces My Employer to Shut Down While I’m Receiving Workers Compensation Benefits? Kaplan Morrell, like so many of you across the country, is trying to make sense of the unfolding coronavirus outbreak. If you’re one of our clients, you’ve likely noticed that we’ve shifted most of our team to work at home, leaving a small, rotating crew at the office to ensure we’re ready and able to protect your rights as an injured worker.
One question we’ve gotten a few times over the past couple of weeks is “what happens if my employer shuts down or starts reducing hours because of COVID-19, and I’m receiving medical care and or workers compensation benefits as an injured worker?”
As always, the answer is it depends.
First off, if you’re in treatment, have restrictions, and are already off of work receiving lost wage checks, there will be no change to your benefits.
Second, if you’re currently working reduced hours with restrictions and in treatment for a work injury, the same thing, no change. In this case, you’ll continue to receive partial pay with worker’s compensation paying two-thirds of the difference.
However, let’s say that you’re in treatment and working with restrictions when your employer all of the sudden closes, lays off people or reduces hours and now you’re out of work altogether. What are your rights? We anticipate that insurance companies will try to claim that the reason for your lost wages has nothing to do with your work injuries, and therefore will not owe you a lost wage benefit under worker’s compensation.
Our position is that as long as you can show your work injury restrictions affect and impair your ability to go out and find other alternative employment, you are entitled to lost wages due to your work injury. This is regardless of whether or not your layoff or loss of employment was due to coronavirus.
You have rights!
Therefore, if you’re an injured worker, you’ve got restrictions, you’re still in medical care, meaning the doctor hasn’t placed you at maximum medical improvement and you are now facing lost wages because of the downturn due to coronavirus, you absolutely have rights.
Do not be bamboozled or confused by someone saying you don’t get anything because you didn’t lose these wages due to your work injury and that it’s instead due to coronavirus pandemic. We do not believe that’s true and are prepared to fight for the injured workers’ rights to get lost wage benefits, even if they’re laid off due to the current public health crisis.
What Happens if COVID-19 Forces My Employer to Shut Down While I’m Receiving Workers Compensation Benefits? We’re here to help.
As always, if you or anybody you love is injured in Colorado while on the job, please have them contact Kaplan Morrell at (970) 356-9898. Our initial consultation is always free, and we look forward to helping our clients during these unprecedented times.