Apr 2020

Can grocery store workers collect workers’ comp for COVID-19?

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

On March 24, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential businesses to cease in-person operation to help prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

While several Massachusetts businesses have closed their doors to the public, grocery stores are still fully operational. Even while residents across the Bay State hunker down, many of them still need to go out to purchase food and other essential items.

What risks do grocery store employees face?

As a result of the high demand for essential items, grocery store employees are at a heightened risk of being infected with COVID-19 while on the job. Several grocery stores have installed Plexiglas sneeze guards at cash registers to help protect employees, but some employees may have to come in close contact with customers or may touch surfaces where the virus remains.

In addition, many employees have to work faster and harder in order to keep up with the demand. This can lead to worker fatigue, exertion injuries and workplace accidents.

Common workplace accidents in grocery stores include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Falls from ladders and stepping stools
  • Being struck by falling inventory
  • Accidents with forklifts and pallet jacks

What should I do if I become ill or sustain an injury at work?

There are three main symptoms of COVID-19 to watch out for, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you have developed any these symptoms, it’s critical that you report them to your employer immediately and call your doctor so you can get tested. Even if your symptoms are minor, you will need to quarantine at home for at least 14 days.

If you have sustained any injury on the job due to a workplace accident, be sure to notify your employer and get medical attention as soon as possible.

Can I obtain workers’ compensation benefits?

If you were infected with COVID-19 or injured while at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Massachusetts law. Workers’ compensation would pay for lost wages while you’re unable to work and any medical expenses related to your illness or injury.

Getting workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts isn’t easy, however. Any errors made during the filing process could result in a delay or denial of benefits. An experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help guide you through your claim and help streamline this complex process.

To find out how we can maximize your chances of obtaining benefits, contact us online or call us at (508) 677-4900. Our case evaluations are confidential and free of charge.

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