How Is the COVID-19 Quarantine Affecting Workers’ Compensation Claimants?
If you are in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim, you likely have already experienced the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on your proceeding. Among other things, claimants are dealing with canceled court hearings, difficulty in receiving medical care and transportation problems triggered by the coronavirus. No matter what else is going on in your community and throughout the country, obtaining the benefits you deserve is critical, so if you’re unsure about what’s next, you should consult with your lawyer.
Various elements of the pandemic might present obstacles to your workers’ compensation action, such as:
- Canceled, postponed or modified hearings — As state governments have shut down “nonessential” services, many disputed worker’s compensation cases are on hold. No matter how strong your argument might be, a canceled or postponed hearing could delay the date when you receive reimbursement for your medical expenses and lost income. Your attorney can advise you about whether holding a hearing through online conferencing is permitted.
- Difficulty in receiving medical care — The combination of exposure fears and the need to prioritize COVID-19 patients has limited people’s ability to receive physical therapy and non-emergency medical care. One option that has emerged is telemedicine, which involves a video conversation with a doctor to receive a diagnosis and medical advice. This can help in assessing the extent of someone’s injury or illness, but is not a complete substitute for in-person medical care.
- Transportation problems — Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft could be riskier and tougher to find during this time. Frequently, people seeking workers’ compensation benefits are physically limited and unable to transport themselves.
Some slowdowns might be inevitable given the overwhelming scope of the pandemic, but a skillful workers’ compensation attorney can help you devise the best strategy for your claim going forward. Whether that involves pressing for a settlement, making use of technology or doing something else depends on your preferences and the circumstances surrounding your claim.
Contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your claim
Bailes, Craig, Yon & Sellards, PLLC advises clients on workers’ compensation matters and represents them in hearing and appeals. Please call 304-697-4700 or contact the firm online to schedule an appointment about your situation.