By: Rich Lenkov
As we expected, Gov. Pritzker has signed HB2455, making it significantly easier for employees claiming COVID-19 to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Effective immediately, the new law provides a rebuttable presumption that COVID-19 was contracted out of and in the course of employment for first responders and front-line workers. The law applies to employees who contracted the virus between 3/9/20 and 12/31/20.
The presumption does not apply if the employee was on a leave of absence for 14 or more consecutive days prior to contracting COVID-19. As we discussed last week, employers may also rebut the presumption by demonstrating that they have followed federal and state guidelines and provided a safe workplace, or that the employee was exposed to the virus by an alternative source. The preponderance of evidence standard applies.
We are defending almost a hundred COVID-19 cases. For more information on aggressively handling these new claims, contact me or any member of our workers’ compensation team.