The Workers Compensation Insurance Organizations (WCIO) now lists COVID-19 among its reporting codes for Occupational Disease or Cumulative Injury, describing it as “respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus.” The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) began accepting these codes on April 1, 2020, to be used for reporting any claim effective December 2019 or later.
Filing a successful Maryland Workers’ Compensation claim proving employer liability for injury or illness can be very challenging. Proving employer liability for a worker becoming ill in Maryland from COVID-19 — in the middle of a pandemic in a state with community spread — is not necessarily an open-and-shut case.
On March 5, 2020, Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. declared a State of Emergency in Maryland as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Anticipating employee claims due to coronavirus, the Maryland Insurance Administration approved of creating uniform codes for the tracking of COVID-19 injuries, losses, and expenses. However, the Administration notes that “the creation of these new codes does not mean that any or all claims for COVID19 related injury are compensable.”
While some states have taken steps in the form of legislation or executive orders to directly address workers’ compensation coverage of COVID-19 — particularly for first responders and health care workers on the front lines fighting the virus — Maryland has not. This is why if you or a loved one have become ill with COVID-19 while on the job, we recommended consulting with an experienced Maryland Workers’ Comp attorney.
COVID-19 has impacted all our lives, and employers are facing unprecedented challenges to meet the needs of so many affected workers.
However, whether coronavirus will be considered a compensable “occupational disease” in the eyes of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission is new territory. This is why we advise our clients not to go it alone and file their own claims. There are simply too many variables in unchartered waters that could get in the way of your workers’ comp claim being approved. Experienced Md work comp attorneys are up to date on changes in the law and codes, and can relieve you of the burden of having to navigate the workers’ compensation process yourself.
Please contact us if you’d like to discuss a Maryland Workers’ Compensation claim related to the coronavirus or other illness or injury that occurred on the job. We are open for business, and we are here to help the residents of Maryland through this challenging time.
Maryland Insurance Administration Bulletin April 24, 2020 (PDF)
National Conference of State Legislatures
COVID-19: Workers’ Compensation Aug. 28, 2020