Before I talk about workers’ compensation law and Coronavirus, I want to talk about work comp law and marijuana. Long story short, if you get hurt at work and test positive for marijuana, it creates a “rebuttable presumption” that you were high when you got hurt and allows the insurance company to deny your case. This is of course ridiculous as marijuana stays in your system for a while. The good news is that you can through your testimony and/or witnesses show that you weren’t high when you got hurt and win your case.
Why do I bring this up? Because with Coronavirus, this same philosophy has been made law, but in this case it’s for the benefit of workers in Illinois.
From March 9, 2020 through December 31, 2020 (and it may be extended if we don’t get out of this mess), if you get Covid and work in certain jobs, a law was put in to place that creates a “rebuttable presumption” that if you have Covid, you got it from work.
So if you are a healthcare worker or front line worker and get Covid, it’s presumed that you got it from work although the insurance company has a chance to argue otherwise. That means 100% of your medical bills will be paid with no co-pays or out of pocket expenses. This is huge as there have been many reports of people hospitalized with Coronavirus having bills in the six or seven figures. It also means that you will get compensated for your time off of work which is great because it doesn’t put pressure on you financially to rush back to work when your doctor feels you should be at home. And it also means that you will be entitled to a settlement for how this will affect you in the future.
It’s obvious what healthcare workers are, but what is a front line worker? That means law enforcement officers and anyone employed by a company that was deemed an essential business. This includes people who work at grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware stores, transportation providers, schools, restaurants and many other businesses. The only exception is if you don’t come in to contact with the general public as part of your job.
The presumption that Covid came from work may be rebutted by evidence including that the employee was working from home or on leave for a period of 14 or more consecutive days immediately prior to getting diagnosed, showing that the employer was following current public health guidelines for two weeks prior to when the employee claims they contracted COVID-19 or that the employee was exposed to COVID-19 by an another source.
The bottom line is that if you have or had Covid, you should contact a lawyer to discuss whether or not you have a workers’ compensation case. Feel free to call us any time at 312-346-5320.