Capital member Rich Lenkov wrote an article for Business Insurance on COVID-19 presumptions and the future of other infectious diseases in workers’ compensation.
“Tips for Rebutting COVID-19 Presumptions” notes that many states that have enacted presumption statutes, but have not provided guidance on overcoming the presumption. Rich examines Illinois’ presumption—signed into law in June 2020—and its methods that allow employers to overcome the presumption, which may be useful for crafting rebuttable arguments in other jurisdictions.
Rich also addresses permanency, stating that even if a claimant meets their burden, the issue that presents the most expensive part of the claim remains: permanency.
“Most people who are diagnosed experience a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever and difficulty breathing, in severe cases. Those conditions usually clear up relatively quickly, and most COVID-19 cases result in no significant permanent partial disability or extended time off from work. COVID-19 exposure is unlikely to result in diminished future earning capacity or disability…”
Rich also addresses novel COVID-19 symptoms and work-related deaths, legislation surrounding other severe infectious diseases and workers’ compensation benefits for seasonal illnesses.