Capital member Rich Lenkov was recently featured in a Business Insurance article titled, “Questions Remain Over Effect of COVID Presumption Laws.”
The article highlights the panel Rich participated for Business Insurance on July 16. “Workers’ Compensation: Presumption & COVID-19″ addressed essential employees’ COVID-19 claims and broke down the potential rebuttal presumption they caught the virus from work. Willis Towers Watson Senior Consultant John Hanson and Adelson Mclean General Counsel and Co-managing Shareholder Jeffrey Adelson joined Rich on the panel.
“[The presumption] was a concession, at least in our state, to incredibly strong labor unions,” Rich said. “We already have a basis for workers to prove their case — it’s called the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. We don’t need to create a separate class of people, especially given the basic understanding of how difficult it is to prove causation. I don’t think a rebuttable presumption is necessary.”
Illinois, California and Vermont have all extended rebuttable presumptions for essential workers who contract COVID-19. While some argue that litigating these claims is more expensive, Rich notes that it is important for employers to assess the case value before accepting a COVID-19 claim on its face.
“Yes, it costs maybe a little bit of money to litigate them, but you have to decide whether fighting the case is of value because you can be guaranteed for every case you accept you will see some others filed as well,” he said.