Who is liable if an employee catches COVID-19 while on the job?

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the state moves forward with a reopening plan, officials say there have already been several worker’s compensation related claims regarding COVID-19.

Now, it may be up to a court to determine if an employer is liable for an employee contracting the virus while on the job.

The case started getting attention after an Oklahoma food worker died after being diagnosed with COVID-19 last month.

His attorney says the company the patient worked for did not enforce safety measures like masks, which could have reduced his chance of getting the deadly virus.

“If someone contracts the COVID-19 and the employer doesn’t take adequate precautions per the CDC guidelines, then yes, I think it should be covered under worker’s comp,” said Jim Devinney, worker’s compensation attorney.

However, some insurance companies refuse to pay worker’s compensation claims for COVID-19, arguing that it is an ordinary disease that the general public is exposed to on a regular basis.

Oklahoma Rep. Chris Kannaday announced that he is working on emergency legislation to protect first responders who contract the virus while on the job.

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