Getting Compensation for COVID-19 Long-Haulers


COVID-19 Long-Haulers


By now, most of us know someone who has contracted COVID-19. Sadly, some of us have even lost family members or friends to the pandemic. Although researchers, epidemiologists, public health officials, and other experts have been working overtime to learn as much as they can about the virus that causes COVID and how to combat it, many questions remain. One of the most puzzling aspects of the pandemic is the emergence of "long-haulers,” or COVID-19 patients whose symptoms continue to incapacitate them long after their initial infection.


Michael Regan, a 50-year old patient who contracted an acute case of COVID-19 last spring near the outset of the pandemic in North America, spent time in the hospital and experienced symptoms such as coughing up blood. Now, almost a year later, Regan considers himself a long-hauler. He still experiences constant pain in his chest, nerve pain in his hands and legs, seizures, tremors, and loss of vision in one eye. "I realize that I have a lot of damage from COVID…it's changed my life completely," Regan says.


One aspect that baffles medical professionals is that some long-haulers, unlike Regan, initially showed only mild COVID symptoms. One 34-year old woman, who was sick with COVID-19 during the summer was never hospitalized and initially had minor symptoms: low-grade fever, fatigue, and shortness of breath. However, the woman is now dealing a wide variety of after-effects. These include debilitating symptoms like nausea and loss of appetite, dizziness, brain fog, confusion, sinus pain, and cognitive problems. "I'm really only able to function for maybe, tops, like four hours during a day," this patient says.


Implications for Long-Haulers


Although the picture regarding long-haulers is unclear, doctors fear that there may tens of thousands of cases where the after-effects of the initial COVID infection leaves patients unable to return to work or deal with everyday tasks. With the causes unknown, doctors are left to treat individual symptoms as they occur, and long-haul patients are scrambling to find information that can help. In an essay for the Washington Post, one long-hauler wrote, "I’m going around in circles looking for any kind of answer, but mostly it seems like they’re [medical professionals] guessing. I’ve been told I might have Lyme disease, or something called POTS syndrome, or chronic fatigue, or fibromyalgia, or anxiety and depression…I need help with everything. I can’t really drive… I feel like a burden. My husband is the full-time worker, full-time caretaker, full-time housekeeper.”” 


The "long-haul” phenomenon has insurance implications, too. If a significant percentage of COVID patients develop chronic symptoms, will their insurance companies provide benefits? Toronto’s Chantal Renaud is experiencing many of the debilitating symptoms of other long-haulers. She says she’s operating at about 10% of her previous ability and has been unable to work. But Renaud’s insurance company denied her claim, leaving her family facing an uncertain future.


Obtaining Compensation


If you are a COVID-19 "long-hauler” who has been denied short-term or long-term disability coverage by your insurance company, contact a personal injury law firm today. A personal injury lawyer understands the medical system, the legal system, and the insurance system and can help you to get the compensation you deserve.