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Seamstress Receives Workers’ Compensation For COVID-Related Injuries


COVID became rampant in 2020, to the point where schools and many businesses closed down. Four years later, Americans are still getting COVID. Many people are getting it from co-workers. When this happens, what are their options? Can they receive workers’ compensation benefits? A recent decision in such a case says yes.

A seamstress for David’s Bridal was exposed to COVID-19 at work in 2021. She then tested positive for the virus. How can she prove that she caught the disease and work and should therefore receive workers’ compensation benefits?

The seamstress primarily worked in the back of the New York shop. She primarily did alterations but was regularly called on to provide advice and consult with front-end consultants. She also worked the register from time to time. In addition, the woman had contact with up to 12 coworkers in the break room and bathroom.

The employer had a mask policy in effect for employees and customers, but it was not always followed. It was no surprise when an employee developed COVID symptoms. The front-end consultant had begun experiencing symptoms on March 2, 2021. The seamstress worked the next two days — March 3 and 4, 2021 — and her schedule coincided with the front-end consultant.

The seamstress began experiencing COVID symptoms on March 7. Others in the store were sick as well. She tested positive the following day and never returned to work. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with respiratory failure caused by COVID pneumonia.

The seamstress filed a workers’ compensation claim, as her pulmonary physician testified that there was a “strong probability” that the seamstress contracted COVID in the workplace. The workers’ compensation board felt that the seamstress had enough proof that she contracted the virus in the course of her employment. The board noted that the company waived its right to obtain an independent medical exam of the woman.

In the case of COVID, a claimant may meet their burden to show that an injury or illness arose out of and in the course of employment by demonstrating either a specific exposure to COVID or prevalence of COVID in the work environment.

The seamstress worked overlapping shifts with a co-worker who had just tested positive. She developed symptoms soon afterward. The seamstress also testified that she had significant interaction with coworkers.

Based on the physician’s testimony and the facts provided by the seamstress, the court agreed with the workers’ compensation board’s finding that the seamstress contracted COVID in the workplace. David’s Bridal could not provide any evidence disproving a relationship between the injury and the workplace. The court affirmed the board’s decision.

Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you contracted COVID at work, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove that the disease arose from employment.

Workers’ compensation claims can be tricky. Get the compensation you are entitled to receive with help from a White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. To schedule a free initial consultation, call (914) 228-1770 or fill out the online form.



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