The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused life to change in many ways. As a result, we are experiencing unprecedented changes, even in law. In Illinois, a virtually unanimous vote in the General Assembly resulted in changes being made to its Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Disease statutes. This was done to address the impact the virus has had on individuals in the workplace so that front-line and essential workers can receive compensation benefits after contracting COVID-19.
Before the new WC Covid Legislation was enacted, employees were required to prove any disease they contracted, including COVID-19, occurred during the course of their employment and arose out of their employment. Now, the new legislation eliminates this burden for front-line and essential employees through the use of “rebuttable presumptions.” If a covered employee contacts the virus, it “shall be rebuttably presumed” the disease came from the course of employment. In addition to this, the disease “shall be rebuttably presumed to be causally connected to the hazards” of their work. Front-line and essential workers will be presumed that they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they become sick with COVID-19. This can include payment for medical costs, lost wages, and death benefits, if necessary.
The WC Covid Legislation applies to front line workers such as police officers, fire personnel, and health care providers. It also applies to any individuals who are employed by an essential business. Essential workers are classified in Illinois as those who are required to encounter members of the general public in the workplace or work in employment locations of more than 15 employees.
Whether or not the employee’s claim is compensable is dependent upon the evidence that is presented. The WC Covid Legislation provides three ways a claim can be “rebutted” against the presumption. This includes:
- The employee was working from home or outside the workplace for at least 14 days prior to their contraction of COVID-19
- The employer strictly adhered to industry-specific workplace sanitation, social distancing, and safety practice guidelines as defined by either the Center for Disease Control or the Illinois Department of Public Health
- The employee was exposed to COVID-19 by an alternative source
If you have become the victim of an on the job injury, it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney and the doctor that is treating you to determine how to make the process as easy as possible. AllianceMeds understands that a workplace accident can be challenging and is here to help. We will deliver your medication to your door using overnight delivery and cover any out of pocket expenses that may arise. If you have any questions about how we can help, contact AllianceMeds today.