Concerns about Workers’ Compensation Benefits for First Responders Sickened by Coronavirus in South Carolina
Earlier this month, WMBF News in Myrtle Beach reported on concerns by first responders sickened with coronavirus — like firefighters, EMTs and police officers. According to the report, many essential employees may not receive workers’ compensation benefits for their injuries and time out of work despite the increased risk of coronavirus infection they face as part of their daily work. The board of the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Department reportedly issued a statement that if a workers’ compensation insurer denies a claim for benefits by an ill first responder, the board’s chairman will “personally appear before the [Worker’s Compensation Commission] and demand the claim be paid.”
Many employers are denying the reality that healthcare workers and first responders face a job-related increased risk of contracting COVID-19. However, an optimistic note in the article comes in a statement by the Vice-President of the Professional Firefighters Association of South Carolina that denying firefighters workers’ compensation benefits would be “taking advantage of them.”Another optimistic note in the article is news of efforts by South Carolina’s legislators and Governor to ensure that first responders sickened by the coronavirus receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.
Given our past successes handling workers’ compensation claims for workplace exposure to infectious diseases like hepatitis and Legionnaire’s disease, we believe first responders and healthcare workers are already entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under South Carolina law. However, we applaud the efforts by legislators and the Governor to make sure that first responders receive workers’ compensation benefits for COVID-19. As we have stated numerous times since the coronavirus pandemic began in South Carolina, our healthcare workers and first responders deserve our complete support. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure they receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.
The Steinberg Law Firm has a long history protecting the rights of nurses, first responders, law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and all healthcare workers. We have handled thousands of workers’ compensation cases due to exposure. We will help you every step of the way should you become infected with the coronavirus. If you would like to talk about a potential case, please call us at 843-720-2800.