Does Wisconsin Provide Worker’s Compensation Benefits for COVID-19?

worker's compensation for first respondersThe short answer is yes. However, as with all work-related injuries, there are eligibility requirements that must first be met. The attorneys at Sigman & Janssen are prepared to help workers who contracted COVID-19 on the job.

If you meet the requirements as defined under the new COVID-19 law, Wisconsin Act 185, we welcome the opportunity to provide legal guidance throughout the worker’s compensation claims process.

Not sure if you are eligible? You can meet with one of our licensed attorneys to discuss your situation in a completely free, no-obligation consultation.

What is Wisconsin Act 185?

Wisconsin Act 185 is a new state law that became effective April 15, 2020. In its entirety, this new law is a state response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are multiple provisions under Wisconsin Act 185, including some specific additions to aid essential workers who become infected with the virus while performing their job duties. These workers, including first responders, may now be eligible to obtain worker’s compensation benefits for injuries resulting from COVID-19.

The law is retroactively effective to March 12, 2020 (with limitations), when the public health emergency was first declared, and it extends to 30 days after the state declares the end of the current Public Health Emergency.

What Are the Requirements Under the New Law?

First responders and other essential workers have a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19 while performing their job duties. To be eligible for a coronavirus-related worker’s compensation claim, the following must be true:

  • The virus was contracted during the course of employment
  • The worker contracted injuries caused by COVID-19 between April 17, 2020 and up to 30 days beyond when the Public Health Emergency Executive Order is declared to be ended
  • The work-related coronavirus injury must be diagnosed by a physician and supported by a positive COVID-19 test

If you qualify as an eligible first responder for worker’s comp benefits, but you contracted the virus prior to April 17, 2020, you may still be eligible to receive these benefits. However, for such workers, the presumptive rebuttal clause will not apply.

What is Presumptive Rebuttal and How Might it Impact Workers?

Essentially, the presumptive rebuttal means that there is an assumption that qualifying first responders who become infected with the coronavirus during the pandemic did so in the course of their employment, and as such will be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits.

However, the inclusion of the “presumptive rebuttal” clause also means that an employer or worker’s comp insurance carrier could decide to make an argument against that assumption if there is evidence that shows the employee could have contracted the virus outside of his or her work duties.

Who is Eligible for Worker’s Comp Due to COVID-19?

There are many frontline or essential workers who may be eligible for worker’s compensation due to COVID-19, including:

  • Firefighters
  • Law enforcement
  • Doctors
  • Nursing staff
  • Other medical professionals
  • Some volunteer workers
  • And more

Our Appleton worker’s compensation lawyers are prepared to review the circumstances of your work-related COVID-19 injury. Even if you are unsure whether you may qualify for worker’s compensation benefits under the new law, we encourage you to contact us for legal help.  

How Can I Pursue a Worker’s Compensation Claim Due to COVID-19?

Workers who become ill or infected with the coronavirus while performing their job duties can find full instructions on how to apply for worker’s compensation online. However, here are some important first steps to take:

  • As soon as you are aware that you have become ill, inform your supervisor
  • Seek medical care immediately, and get tested for COVID-19
  • Keep copies of your medical records, including copies of your test results and a diagnosis from your physician
  • Contact a licensed attorney for legal help with pursuing your benefits

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

At Sigman & Janssen, our attorneys have almost a hundred years of combined litigation experience, and we have obtained millions on behalf of our clients. If you are eligible for worker’s compensation benefits under the law and we represent you, we are prepared to help you throughout the legal process.

There is no risk for you to meet with us as we charge nothing for your initial consultation. There are also no upfront costs for our clients to pay. We take worker’s compensation claims on contingency, so you only pay us if we first recover money for you.

Talk to a lawyer today. Ph: (877) 888-5201