If you are injured while working on the assembly line or while slicing beef at the meat packing plant, we can help you file and collect the injury compensation you deserve. But a recent story in the Star Tribune highlighted a different injury plight among meat packing workers. Hundreds of meat packing workers have contracted COVID-19, and some have died, yet none have been granted workers’ compensation even though it is all but certain where they contracted the disease.
The JBS meat packing plant saw nearly half of its 2,000 member staff test positive for COVID-19, and contact tracing made it clear that the plant was at the epicenter of the outbreak. Considering the fact that workers’ compensation offers payments to employees who contract work-related illnesses on the job, it would seem like a no-brainer that these workers would be eligible for compensation as they missed time away from work in quarantine. Sadly, this was not the case. But not just for some of them. All of them saw their claims denied.
You read that right. Of the 930 meatpacking employees in Minnesota who filed for a COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim, 717 had their claims outright denied, and the other 213 are under review. Not a single application was accepted.
COVID-19 Injury Claims
In general, insurance companies will approve a claim if it is probable that an employee was injured or sickened at work, but it’s clear they plan to handle these cases a little differently. Meat packers are not given the same protections that emergency medical personnel and hospital workers are provided in Minnesota. Because of their line of work, it is presumed that a healthcare worker contracted the illness on the job. This presumption is not extended to meat packers, even in light of the outbreaks in Minnesota and other facilities across the US.
The reason insurance companies are denying these claims is obvious. If they approve even one claim, they are opening themselves up to multi-million dollar liability lawsuits, especially considering that more than 122 meatpacking workers have died due to COVID in the US. Instead, they’d rather protect their bottom line and deny workers compensation for lost work and medical expenses that workers should be entitled to receive.
Clearly it’s an uphill battle, but we’re here to help in any way we can. If you work for a meatpacking plant or another facility that has seen a COVID-19 outbreak, we want to help you put the strongest case together and fight for what you rightfully deserve. And if you’ve been denied benefits, let us take up your appeal. The burden of proof falls on the employee to prove that the claim was wrongfully denied, and we’ve helped win countless appeals in the past. It’s not going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 at work, let us sail into uncharted territory on your behalf and fight for you.
For more information about COVID-19 related claims or standard work injury claims, give the talented team of attorneys at Hey Workers a call today at (844) 439-9675.