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Can first responders collect workers' comp for COVID-19?

New York Workers' Compensation

New York City has become the epicenter of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has sickened thousands of city residents and killed hundreds.

Even while the city is on lockdown, due to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Executive Order 202 on March 7, 2020, the virus has yet to be contained. Thousands of new cases are being reported each day, even as residents hunker down and avoid close contact with each other.

What are the risks EMS first responders face?

Emergency medical service (EMS) workers are among those at the front line of COVID-19. EMS first responders provide prompt, emergency medical care to those in need and rush patients to the nearest hospital by ambulance. COVID-19 has New York first responders working harder than ever. They face a great risk of being injured or becoming ill while working to protect the public. This is due to:

The risk of COVID-19 infection

First responders are the first to come in contact with people suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms. The face masks they wear are not always enough to protect them from being infected. Since COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days, they could easily spread the virus to their co-workers and families.

The symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches

The risk of injuries

First responders are at risk of sustaining injuries while lifting patients or heavy equipment. First responders often sustain:

  • Back and spinal injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries from falls
  • Hand and arm injuries
  • Foot injuries
  • Musculoskeletal injuries

Accidents related to stress and fatigue

Many first responders are experiencing the crunch of COVID-19 while attending to as many infected patients as possible. Some first responders may work longer hours than usual, lose sleep, or experience greater stress. The stress and fatigue that comes with the job could put first responders at risk of:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Transportation accidents
  • Accidents with equipment

Can I collect workers' compensation benefits during COVID-19?

While many businesses are shutting their doors during COVID-19, the legal team at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law is available to serve new and existing clients.

We'll help you get the workers' compensation benefits you need to cover your medical expenses and wage loss while you recover. We want to ensure the safety of you and our staff, however. In order to do so, we'll be offer free, remote consultations via:

  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Facetime
  • Text
  • Phone
  • Email

Your workers' compensation hearing will also be held remotely, pursuant to Executive Order 202. The New York Workers' Compensation Board will hold virtual hearings via video conference.

You can conveniently attend your hearing through the board's virtual hearing app. This app can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play Store.

In addition, the board will:

  • Extend the deadline for filing medical evidence by 90 days.
  • Not suspend benefits for those who can't attend an independent medical examination appointment for reasons related to COVID-19.

Our firm has several offices in the five Boroughs of NYC and across New York State. Contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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