A.R.S. § 23-901.01 Occupational diseases:

A. The occupational diseases as defined by § 23-901 , paragraph 13, subdivision (c) shall be deemed to arise out of the employment only if all of the following six requirements exist:

  1. Direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the occupational disease
  2. The disease can be seen to have followed as a natural incident of the work as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment
  3. The disease can be fairly traced to the employment as the proximate cause
  4. The disease does not come from a hazard to which worker would have been equally exposed to outside of employment
  5. The disease is incidental to the character of the business and not independent of the relation of the employer and employee
  6. The disease after its contraction appears to have had its origin in a risk connected with the employment, and to have flowed from that sources as a natural consequence, although it need not have been foreseen or expected.

In order to be found compensable, the C-19 must be “occupational” requiring that is arose out of and was in the course and scope of one’s employment. The C-19 must also be “peculiar” to the employment generally meaning that it must be found almost exclusively in the particular field. The virus must also NOT be the type to which the general public are exposed.

The above factors must be met before it is recommended to accept the claim for benefits.

If an employee is exposed at work to C-19, testing and time lost benefits are NOT owed since exposures do not equate to an injury.  Even if the employee develops the disease, they must also comply with the above requirements before the claim is compensable.

Of course, AZ courts will always look to find compensability when they can, especially if we are dealing with healthcare workers directly working with/treating C-19 patients. AZ’s caselaw is not very extensive and I know that the national trend seems to support compensability. With that said, workers have a very high bar in proving a compensable C-19 claim.

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