AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The coronavirus has put workers compensation laws into new territory, especially for those who may contract the virus at their jobs.
Two lawyers at HammondTownsend say when it comes to getting injured on the job, Virginia has become more worker friendly.
“There’s this presumption that, hey, if you come down with cancer, and it’s on a list that fumes or something causes that type of cancer then it is presumed that it was caused by your work as a firefighter,” HammondTownsend Partner George Townsend said.
That presumption could be extended to first responders and healthcare workers.
“There is an executive order on Governor Northam’s desk to create a presumption during this crisis that if a first responder or a healthcare provider comes down with the coronavirus, it is presumed that it is caused by that person’s employment,” Townsend said. “Their medical expenses will be paid and if they miss work because of it. They will receive their loss wage benefit through workers compensation.”
The team has more than 50 years of combined experienced legal experience. They said practicing the law is personal.
“I grew up in a working family, and have always been kind of a working class person. I like to side with people who are actually out there doing it,” partner Steven Hammond said.
If you get injured on the job in any capacity, Hammond said to follow these steps: “First thing you need to do is report it to your supervisor, so that there’s a record of what has happened, and then you need to see a medical doctor or medical provider to make sure you get the treatment that you need,” he said.
However, the coronavirus is introducing a new legal landscape: “This is totally different, totally foreign from anything we’ve seen before, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it evolves," Hammond said.
The team at HammondTownsend can confirm that for right now there may be more questions than answers.