Unfortunately, it is very difficult for Georgia’s working class to obtain workers’ compensation benefits if employees contract the COVID-19 virus.
While the Act includes statutory coverage for “occupational diseases,” employees bear the burden of satisfying a five-prong test where they are required to explicitly show causation. Under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-280(2), employees must prove:
(A) A direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the disease;
(B) That the disease followed as a natural incident of exposure by reason of the employment;
(C) That the disease is not of a character to which the employee may have had substantial exposure outside of the employment;
(D) That the disease is not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed;
(E) That the disease must appear to have had its origin in a risk connected with the employment and to have flowed from that source as a natural consequence.
Given the widespread nature of the pandemic, it nearly impossible for employees to meet the causation standards outlined above. Considering its global outbreak, many insurers have taken the position that COVID-19 is “an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed.” However, there are still ways for COVID-19 to be deemed compensable under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. Contact the Ramos Law Firm for a free consultation.