Could the Coronavirus Cause Permanent Damage?
As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues, some are worried about the virus’ long lasting health effects.
In preliminary studies, doctors have begun to see evidence of the lingering health effects caused by COVID-19. Yale cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholtz explains that this disease can affect the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the brain, the endocrine system and the blood system.
In a recent study from China, scientists examined the blood test results of over 30 Coronavirus patients over the course of their hospitalization. In those who survived, the researchers found that many biological measures had “failed to return to normal.”
Another question that has physicians worried is whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 may lie dormant in the body for years and come back later in a different form. This is not specific to this virus, however. For example, after a chicken pox infection, the herpes virus that causes the illness may stay dormant for decades and reemerge as shingles.
More recently, it was found that the Ebola virus – which swept the world in 2014 – takes residence in the vitreous fluid of the eyes, causing blindness and/or vision impairment in 40% of those infected.
What Rights Do You Have?
While it may be difficult to determine where a person has been infected with the virus, it is not impossible – Walmart is currently being sued in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Also, some essential businesses, like Amazon, are withholding information on how many workers are infected, causing worry for current employees working in the same environment.
If you believe you caught the Coronavirus from your work environment, or from a work-related activity, read more below.
A Quick Explanation of Workers’ Compensation
In Delaware, workers’ compensation covers 6 main areas: lost wages, medical bills, partial wages, disfigurement, mileage, and permanent impairment.
Learn more about Delaware workers’ compensation rights, explained by Kimmel Carter attorney Heather Long, here.
Since studies are finding that COVID-19 may cause life-long health effects, let’s expand on what permanent impairment is, and how you could be compensated with your workers’ compensation claim.
Permanent impairment is determined by a medical professional, at least one year after the initial injury, when you have reached maximum medical improvement. In Delaware, the doctor usually rates the patient for permanent impairment based on the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines. Permanent disability ratings are used to assess the degree of damage that resulted from your work-related injury or occupational disease.
For example, after your recovery from the Coronavirus, your doctor may rate your lung impairment at 20%. Your Kimmel Carter attorney will then claim that 20% of impairment and multiply that percentage by a specific number of weeks (which are codified into law or determined by case precedence). This equals the number of weeks you are eligible for compensation. From that point, your attorney will multiply those weeks by your compensation rate (which is 2/3 of your average weekly wage up to a maximum amount) to determine your total amount of compensation.
Let’s use a visual example of this equation, assuming your yearly wages are approximately $30,000, 300 weeks is the codified body part and $400 is your compensation rate.
.20 x 300 weeks = 60 weeks x $400/week = $24,000.
Your total compensation would be $24,000 for permanent impairment in this example, which is usually taken as a lump sum.
To read more about what is considered a work-related injury or occupational illness, click here and here.
The experienced attorneys at Kimmel, Carter, Roman, Peltz and O’Neill are here to help you navigate your workers’ compensation claim. Whether it is a physical injury or occupational disease, the lawyers at Kimmel Carter have over 210 years combined experience. If you have questions about your case, we provide a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Reach out today at 302-565-6100