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Will workers’ comp pay benefits for a viral infection caught at work?

While viral infections are common and you can catch one at any time, most of them are quite minor. You may miss a day or two of work, but it is no big deal. However, when there is a serious infection going around that your employer is aware of and has the responsibility to protect you from, then it becomes a huge concern.

Such a virus could take you away from work for weeks or longer, so you may wonder if workers’ compensation would cover it as an occupational illness.

Coverage issues

Forbes explains that the basic requirement for workers’ compensation benefits is that your illness came from doing your regular work activities. When a highly contagious virus hits your workplace, you could easily catch it while doing your regular work activities.

However, it is not normal for workers’ compensation to cover such illnesses. For example, if you get the flu, you probably would not apply for workers’ compensation, even if you suffer from complications that keep you away from work for a long time.

You would need to prove that doing your work activities directly led to you getting sick.

Proof issues

Another problem with claiming workers’ compensation for a viral infection is that you would have to prove you got it at work. If it did not infect you at work, then you cannot get workers’ compensation. These benefits hinge on the work environment causing the illness. If the virus is one that is causing widespread concern, you may have an easier time proving your case, but you will still need to have adequate proof of how you contracted the illness and that it did happen during your workday, which could be a challenge.