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Legal Implications of COVID-19 on Workers' Compensation Claims in North Carolina

N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) Newsletter

  • May 27, 2021

In the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys' newsletter, La-Deidre Matthews analyzed what businesses need to know about COVID-19 and workers' compensation claims.

"On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic," she wrote. "More than a year later, many Americans are resuming their normal lives as vaccinations become more readily available and prevention guidelines become more relaxed. However, COVID-19 still poses a risk, especially amongst individuals with jobs that require them to be in close contact with someone who is infected with the virus. Is contracting the disease while on the job a compensable action under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws?"

"Like with most legal inquiries, it depends," she continued. "Pursuant to the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee must show that they contracted COVID-19 due to causes and conditions which are characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation or employment, rather than an ordinary disease of life to which the public is equally exposed. While no case law currently exists that addresses whether COVID-19 meets the requirements of a compensable disease under the NC Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), a review of the pertinent statutes may shed light on the inquiry."

You can read the full article here. The NCADA consists of nearly 900 attorneys and paralegals across the state who spend the majority of their time representing the interests of businesses and individuals in civil litigation. Several Parker Poe attorneys hold leadership positions within the organization.