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COVID -19 and the Recent L&I Rule

The New Rule About Coronavirus

In March of 2020, the director of L&I indicated there would be additional coverage for first responders who get COVID – 19 . The additional coronavirus coverage is for quarantined health care workers and first responder’s only.  And then only while they are in quarantine by a public health official or physician. This is very narrow coverage. Said another way, this new rule does almost nothing. All the old rules are still in affect.

Existing L&I law that applies to everyone.

The director on L&I makes clear that the usual difficult proof requirements of occupational disease law still apply to all workers.

There will be claim allowance only if you meet the often very difficult occupational disease requirements.

Claims will be likely denied if you are not in a special category such as a first responder or health care worker.

While there is little guidance, it would also seem that with COVID – 19 even the quarantined first responders will still have to file and prove their occupational disease claim.

The next two paragraphs are straight from L&I

Can COVID-19 ever be allowed as a work-related condition?

Yes, under certain circumstances, claims from health care providers and first responders involving COVID-19 may be allowed. Other claims that meet certain criteria for exposure will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

In most cases, exposure and/or contraction of COVID-19 is not considered to be an allowable, work-related condition.

When will a COVID-19 claim likely be denied?

When the contraction of COVID-19 is incidental to the workplace or common to all employment (such as an office worker who contracts the condition from a fellow employee), a claim for exposure to and contraction of the disease will be denied.

See the news release from Governor Jay Inslee from March 5, 2020:  Workers’ Compensation Coverage and COVID-19: Department Policy

Can I sue my employer if I contract COVID -19 at work?

Good question. It’s too early to tell. Your employer is required to keep a safe work-site. However proof requirements and possible broad legislation granting immunity together with other roadblocks are possible. Time will tell.

Can I sue my living facility or other organization if I contract COVID -19 there?

It is too early to answer this question. The political heavyweights are working on this now. Stay tuned.

Want More L&I Information?

Center for Disease Control –

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services –


The World Health Organization –

Family Medical Leave – FMLA 

Things You Need To Know About L&I Claims

L&I Claims are Either an Injury or an Occupational Disease

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