Colorado Company Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim Due to Covid-19

October 8, 2020

The family of a meatpacking employee who contracted and died from Covid-19, is seeking compensation for their father’s untimely death. Saul Sanchez, 78, was an employee of JBS, a meatpacking company in Greeley, Colorado for three decades when he contracted the novel Coronavirus back in April. Sanchez was one of 291 employees who tested positive for the Coronavirus and one of six employees who passed away. His daughter, Beatriz Rangel remembered her father as a “…very hardworking, happy-go-lucky, selfless person.”

JBS Denied the Family’s Claim

The Sanchez family has pursued a claim for compensation over their father’s death, however JBS denied their claim. Several other families filed a claim for compensation due to Covid-19, and at least two other claims at the time of publication have been denied by the meatpacking company. According to Rangel, “we just have a stack of bills, and I think it’s really taking a toll on my mom, because my dad used to be the one handling all the finances.” The family’s claims for compensation included medical and funeral costs. 

Tracing the origins of the Coronavirus can be difficult, which has given rise to JBS’ reason for denying the claims. Since the Coronavirus pandemic started, more than 100 meatpacking plants across the country have seen outbreaks. To date, more than 44,000 meatpacking employees have tested positive and at least 200 have died. One reason for the outbreak may be due to the crowded working spaces and inability to properly social distance. 

Nikki Richardson, a representative for JBS USA said that “the workers’ compensation claim denials were issued by our third-party claims administrator consistent with the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act.”

Statistics from the State

Data from the state of Colorado shows that the meatpacking plant was suffering from a Coronavirus outbreak back in early April. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a statement in September stating that they had cited the JBS meatpacking plant “for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus.” Richardson said the company contested the claim, calling it “entirely without merit.”

Kim Cordova, the president of the local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers said, “it is my understanding that JBS was stating that the workers didn’t contract Covid at the plant. She continued, “I think that it’s just further proof that these companies put profit over people, and that they have treated these poor essential workers as disposable or sacrificial beings for the sake of production or profit.”

Contact A Pittsburgh Workers’ Compensation Lawyer To Discuss Your Pennsylvania Workplace Injury Case

A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.