Workers comp claims for COVID-19 likely to fail

By Joshua Higgins

While the pandemic of COVID-19 rages on and daily life for most Floridians has been altered tremendously, many employers and insurance carriers will face the question of whether an employee who contracts COVID-19 could have a compensable workers’ compensation claim.

Joshua Higgins is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Kelley Kronenberg

While there is no black-and-white answer as to whether an employee who contracts COVID-19 has a compensable workers’ compensation accident/injury, Florida Statute 440.151(1)(a) (“Occupational Diseases”) does provide instructive guidance.  In relevant part, this statute provides as follows: [I]n no case shall an employer be liable for compensation under the provisions of this section unless such disease has resulted from the nature of the employment in which the employee was engaged under such employer, was actually contracted while so engaged, and the nature of the employment was the major contributing cause of the disease. “Nature of the employment” means that in the occupation in which the employee was so engaged there is attached a particular hazard of such disease that distinguishes it from the usual run of occupations, or the incidence of such disease is substantially higher in the occupation in which the employee was so engaged than in the usual run of occupations.

This statute, in short, protects against the viability of an avalanche of potential COVID-19 claims that could be filed.  While there certainly will be COVID-19 claims which should be deemed and accepted as compensable (such as hospital workers involved directly with the treatment and care of COVID-19 patients, in some cases), the vast majority of claims should not be accepted as compensable based upon the above statutory provision.

In order to make a sound decision as it relates to compensability of a COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim, it is imperative that employers relay to their insurance carriers specific details as to the worker’s job tasks and role, and that specific information be obtained from the worker as it relates to what exposure the worker had, if known, with an individual who had COVID-19.  Like many “occupational disease” workers’ compensation claims, compensability is almost entirely dependent on the specific facts of the claim, as opposed to any steadfast rule.

With a detailed early investigation and efficient communication between the employer, carrier, and defense attorney, the waters of forthcoming COVID-19 claims can be effectively navigated.

Joshua Higgins is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of law firm Kelley Kronenberg, focusing his practice on workers’ compensation, police professional litigation, correctional health care  and civil rights violations. He may be reached at jhiggins@kklaw.com.

You May Also Like

Clamor Grows for More PPP

Anticipation is growing for Congress to free up another batch of PPP loans for small businesses as part of additional legislation to respond to the economic fallout from the COVID-19

Heroes of the Pandemic

By Clarissa Buch and Sally-Ann O’Dowd • photography (where indicated) by Eduardo Schneider “It’s so terrifying because as a pregnant female, I’m considered immuno-compromised. If I get infected, my immune

Business as usual

In the aftermath of our spring feature on how companies were dealing with the shutdown, businesses from all over South Florida continue to share their pandemic stories with SFBW. Here

Business as usual

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text] By SFBW editorial staff Kevin Sheehan Jr. President, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Business backstory: The only two-night cruise sailing from the

Other Posts

Miami Developer Emerges Victorious in Real Estate Lawsuit With Help of TA PLLC

The conclusion of multi-year litigation on multiple fronts has allowed the defendant to resume their business activities.

Palm Beach Names Joanne M. O’Connor Town Attorney

The Palm Beach Town Council passed a resolution recognizing O’Connor’s new role.

Fort Lauderdale High School Students Selected as 2024 Conrad & Scherer Pathways to Careers in Law Fellows

Seniors from this year’s and last year’s classes will be eligible to apply for a paid summer internship at the law firm.

Annual Joint Tax & Estate Planning Seminar Draws Over 350 Industry Professionals 

The theme centered around planning for an uncertain future.

Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.