I have had several questions about a claimant reporting an alleged work-related COVID-19 claim well beyond the usual 30 day mark.
While the WC statute says a claim must be reported within 30 days of when a claimant knows (or finds out from a doctor that it is work related), there is an exception for Occupational Diseases. Under the Occupational Disease section, the very last sentence extends that window from 30 to 90 days to report an occupational disease (440.151(6)). So, 3 months to report a COVID -19 claim. Arguably the date of diagnosis/positive test is the starting point for the claimant to report it because that is when they know there is an “injury”.
Also, as a reminder, to be able to use a late reporting defense, the Employer must have “the WC poster” hanging up in a “conspicuous location”. If the poster is not hung up, we do not get a notice defense at all. See 440.185© below.
440.185 Notice of injury or death; reports; penalties for violations.—
(1) An employee who suffers an injury arising out of and in the course of employment shall advise his or her employer of the injury within 30 days after the date of or initial manifestation of the injury. Failure to so advise the employer shall bar a petition under this chapter unless:
(a) The employer or the employer’s agent had actual knowledge of the injury;
(b) The cause of the injury could not be identified without a medical opinion and the employee advised the employer within 30 days after obtaining a medical opinion indicating that the injury arose out of and in the course of employment;
(c) The employer did not put its employees on notice of the requirements of this section by posting notice pursuant to s. 440.055; or
(d) Exceptional circumstances, outside the scope of paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) justify such failure.
440.151 Occupational diseases.—
(6) The time for notice of injury or death provided in s. 440.185(1) shall be extended in cases of occupational diseases to a period of 90 days.