Legal Analysis

Workers’ Compensation Liability & COVID-19: A Comparative Law Review

September 24, 2020

Authors: Jeremy M. Buchalski, Angelique Sabia-Candero, Andrew J. Heck, Gayle L. Ketchie, Kenneth J. Koeppel, Jennifer L. Moran, Jeremy J. Nelson, Jorge A. Ramirez, Dean A. Rocco, Andrea M. Strain, John Suermann Jr., Scott Sweeney

Generally, workers’ compensation systems permit employees to make claims for diseases contracted during their employment if there is some nexus between the employee’s job duties and the onset or progression of the disease. In light of the difficulty in definitively proving when
and where a communicable disease such as COVID-19 is contracted, several states enacted laws to create presumptions in favor of workers’ compensation coverage for certain workers diagnosed with COVID-19, particularly for first responders and health care workers. However, presumptions can be nuanced, and each must be examined closely to determine how to investigate and defend claims related to alleged contraction of COVID-19.

In this review, Wilson Elser attorneys present the current statutory framework, recent changes to the law in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and anticipated liabilities for employers and workers’ compensation insurers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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DISCLAIMER: This publication is for informational purposes only and is general in nature. The law is constantly changing and Wilson Elser cannot guarantee that the information is accurate at the time it is read. Matters involving insurance claims typically are complex, involve unique situations and require careful consideration. This material is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice. Moreover, the material is not intended to and does not constitute a solicitation for the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Wilson Elser reserves the right to correct, change or update this material at any time without prior notice.

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