DOL Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Claims Handling under LHWCA
Several questions have arisen on how to make claims and handle worker compensation claims arising from COVID under the LHWCA , 33 USC 901 et seq. The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued the following guidance to employees and guidance to employers and insurance carriers on how to handle claims under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act due to COVID-19 illnesses. In their guidance, the DOL includes a list of Q & As which includes links to other resources such as forms for reporting an employee who has contracted COVID-19 and guidance on how to handle or prevent the spread of the disease provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When a claim is made by an employee under the LHWCA, they must establish that the COVID-19 exposure was at work and that they are disabled from working – which is usually 14 days. An employer is then responsible for any medical expenses and 2/3 of the employee’s wages while disabled from working.