Worker’s compensation is a pillar of the business world in the US. However, business owners need to be prepared for the impact of COVID-19 on the entire system. Entrepreneurs need to be prepared for the worst now so they don’t find their businesses suffering later.
Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C., a prominent law firm, is cautioning business owners on the unintended consequences of the more than 2.5 million COVID-19 cases in the US.
The economic impact of COVID-19 has rocked major world economies. With millions of people filing for unemployment claims in the USA alone, the economic situation looks very bleak. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have stated that the economic downturn from the pandemic is going to be worse than the Depression of the 1920-30s.
With the pandemic showing no signs of stopping, it is important to be well prepared to deal with the situation. In this article, we are going to help business owners understand workers’ compensation. We are going to discuss how some businesses stand the chance to be more greatly affected by the pandemic than the others do.
Are Employers Liable for Coronavirus Cases in the Workplace?
Liability is difficult to prove and the modern litigation system has never dealt with such a major pandemic. Employers, employees, and the legal industry have entered uncharted waters. Experts say that it’s still too early to determine how much of the burden business owners will be expected to bear.
Worker’s compensation is designed to provide benefits to workers who are put out of action, so businesses that experience a significant number of cases among their workforce will be hit harder than those that have closed their doors.
In other words, there is no legal basis for the liability at hand. However, many companies are doing their bit to help them, workers, during such times. The government too has increased spending on unemployment and other benefits for the general population.
There is no limit to what businesses can expect to lose. As scientists and medical practitioners have not been able to come up with a vaccine, how long the pandemic will last is at best an expert guess.
Some Businesses Will Experience Greater Risks
Not every business has closed its doors. In fact, many industries are experiencing growth. Many retail stores, for example, are continuing to operate and have had to make new hires in order to cope with increased demand.
Ecommerce companies have, in fact, increased hiring in a major manner. Hence, the case that all companies are experiencing losses is not true. In many cases, companies, which have been able to adapt to the changing times are doing well. Integrating the digital as one of the selling and marketing points is proving to be beneficial for many companies.
An influx of new employees in an unfamiliar and busy working environment creates natural risk. Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C. says that employers must tread carefully if they’re expanding as the risk of workplace injury is greater, and not just as a result of the virus itself.
It is important that proper safety and preventive protocols are followed at the workplace. Workers, especially the new ones, should be screened regularly for temperature. Employers should also ensure that all their workers are provided with adequate safety gear like masks, gloves, sanitizers and face shields.
Employers should have proper protocols in place to reduce the risk of workplace injury and reduce the impact on the worker’s comp system. If it is possible, social distancing at the workplace should be mandated to maintain hygiene and safety.
Will Unemployment Reduce Workers Compensation Claims?
Much has been made of the nearly 20 million Americans made unemployed during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s a logical conclusion to say that the number of workers compensation claims will fall as a result of this. Let us look at why we believe so in this section.
According to Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C., the available NJ workers compensation benefits is still expected to be a significant strain on the system once the peak of the wave has passed.
There are multiple reasons for this, but the fact is that thousands of claims were caught in the system by the disruption caused by the pandemic. Furthermore, those workers still working throughout the crisis are taking on additional risk, which could lead to a claim.
Business owners also have to be vigilant against the filing of fraudulent claims. During previous recessions, the number of fraudulent claims rose as a result of desperate workers trying to offset lost income.
Fraudulent claims take away the benefits from workers who really need. Some mischievous entities take recourse to such things as a way of adding to their income. In many cases, it was found that a particular worker was motivated by a fellow competitor to create disruption.
What Should Business Owners Do?
The full impact of COVID-19 on worker’s compensation has yet to be felt and won’t be felt for a significant amount of time yet. Business owners should be doing what they can to minimize workplace injury and implementing proper protocols to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the workplace.
Business owners face a daunting future. On the one hand, they have to ensure that they keep the businesses going, while on the other it is important to ensure none of your workforce contracts the virus. This is a delicate balance to say the least. However, until the pandemic lasts, nothing else can be done.
It is important for business owners to be vigilant and be on guard at all times. Many businesses are using staggered working hours, lunch timings as well as shift timings to ensure safety protocols are followed. The important thing for businesses is to protect their interests and ensure that the business survives the pandemic at all costs.
Experts state that you need to ensure you have adequate workers compensation coverage and make sure it protects your business against an expected rise in claims. Fraudulent claims can be highly detrimental towards the interests of your business.