Nurses, Workers' Compensation and COVID-19 in Central New York

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As the Nation celebrates Nurse Appreciation Day, we join in applauding the valiant efforts of those treating COVID-19 patients and admire the courage of those who have traveled to give their colleagues a much-needed rest. As representatives of those injured at work, we know firsthand the important role nurses play in the progression of healing and know that they count on the protections of the Workers’ Compensation law when injured at work.

As we learn of the progression of COVID cases in Central New York, we know that our Nurses will be on the front lines providing care to residents of nursing homes, senior living facilities and treating those who acquire the disease from work. We also know that some of them will become victims.

Both Onondaga and Madison counties report that nursing home residents account for a disproportionate number of county deaths. Onondaga County has reported deaths at the Van Duyn Center, Central Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and the Bishop Rehabilitation center. Madison county reported a rise in deaths at the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Chittenango New York and reported a surge in cases at the Green Empire Farms.

MCVLaw is ready to help any worker who believe that but for their work, they would not have contracted COVID -19. We recommend that as soon as you suspect you have the virus that you:

  • Tell your employer, preferably by email, text or by completing an accident form within 30 days.
  • Immediately seek medical treatment. Telemedicine is allowed.
  • Make sure to explain why you think your work exposed you to COVID-19.
  • Lastly, you must file a claim with the NYS workers compensation Board within two years.

We stand by to help with the process while continuing to advocate for the injured worker to ensure those suffering from the virus are not left out of the protections of the New York workers’ Compensation Law.

As Co- Chair of the New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance, I recently offered an op-ed about how the Workers’ Compensation Law can apply to those who acquire COVID-19 because of their work. The story was carried by many papers. More importantly, other voices have echoed the sentiment encouraging the administration and our legislative bodies to take action.

So, on this day let us honor the Nurses who triage, treat and indeed suffer from COVID-19 either with the disease itself or the psychological toll that caring for so many may take.

William W. Crossett
Co-Chair New York Workers Compensation Alliance.