As we frequently mention, Texas is the only state that does not mandate employers to provide workers’ compensation for their employees. Fortunately, for two nurses who contracted the Ebola virus while working at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital (THP), they are covered under workers’ comp insurance.
A THP spokesman said the hospital was covering the medical cost for the two nurses who came into contact with the virus while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient from Liberia.
According to Business Insurance, workers’ comp industry experts say Ebola would qualify for compensation since it is considered an illness. In other words, if an employee is injured or ill during the scope of employment, he or she will most likely be covered.
Is It Difficult to Prove a Work Related Illness?
In general, work related illnesses could be difficult to prove depending on what it is. If an employee is sick because of the flu, it is not easy to show that he or she got the flu while on the job, because the flu can be spread anywhere.
However, in extreme and rare cases, such as contracting Ebola, it is slightly easier to prove an illness from the virus, because it is unlikely the worker became sick while off duty.
Can Workers’ Comp Insurance Premiums Increase for an Illness Claim?
As with any insurance, there is a chance that filing a claim could increase the premiums for an employer. However, if an employer shows that it implemented safety procedures to reduce injuries or illnesses, its premiums may stay the same.
Unfortunately, THP said the two nurses contracted Ebola due to mistakes in procedure. Since admitting fault, the hospital announced that it made changes to its protocol to avoid another similar situation.
It is important to remember that the chance of getting Ebola is very rare. However, this story is a valuable lesson in how workers’ comp covers illnesses.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Workers’ Compensation Attorney