By Anthony Busuttil, Solicitor and Amy Nikolovski, Managing Partner
With South Australia’s borders opening to the rest of Australia this week, many of us are wondering what happens if I contract Covid-19 (“Covid”) at work. While everyone’s day to day work duties look different, most of us have varying degrees of contact with the public throughout the entire workday. Some of us may even start travelling for work again. For many of us, the question is, what happens if I contract Covid at work?
Just like any other workers compensation claim, it must be shown that you caught Covid in the course of your employment and that your employment was a significant contributing cause. Here are two examples of what contracting Covid at work may look like:-
Con is a supermarket worker, he works on the checkout. Con comes into close contact with hundreds of people each day. He isn’t feeling well after his shift and decides to take tomorrow off and get a covid test. His employer calls him that night and tells him that SA Health has notified them someone in the store that day had Covid. The next day Con gets a test, and it comes back as positive. The genome testing prove that Con caught Covid in the course of his employment, and that his employment was a significant contributing cause. Con has a compensable workers compensation claim as it can be proven he contracted Covid at work.
Jess is one of South Australia’s best solar panel salespersons. Her boss asks her to travel to the United States to try and sell Australian made solar panels to a US company. During her time in the USA Jess contracted Covid. As her boss directed her to travel and this travel was in the course of employment, her employment here was a contributing cause to Jess catching Covid. Even if it could not be proven that Jess caught COVID while during the actual course of her employment (ie from a client meeting), recent case law has confirmed that Jess can make a claim for workers compensation, as she was directed to travel to the USA by her employer, with the high Covid rates known.
Both Con and Jess would be entitled to receive up to three years of reasonable medical expenses and up to two years of income support payments. If they developed permanent injuries as a result of Covid or “Long Covid” they may also have lump sum entitlements available to them.
At DBH Lawyers, we offer an obligation free first interview and “no win, no fee”* arrangements in workers compensation claims. Contact us for a first free interview today on 1800 324 24.