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How Does COVID-19 Affect Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims?

February 26th, 2021 at 7:53 pm

IL injury attorney, Illinois workers comp lawyer, The year 2020 will always be remembered for the COVID-19 global pandemic. Government and health officials issued executive orders limiting gatherings, requiring masks to be worn, and enforcing social distancing in public places. In addition, many non-essential businesses such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, salons, and casinos were closed to keep people safe and healthy. However, some employees were allowed to work remotely from home. Despite state and local efforts to stop it, the highly contagious virus spread throughout the country, resulting in approximately 500,000 deaths. An effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine was recently approved, which is a critical component in reducing coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths. With many workers returning to office buildings now, employees may be required to get vaccinated before returning to work. It is important to understand how COVID-19 and vaccine-related illnesses impact workers’ compensation claims.

Phase IB

In January, Phase 1B began in Illinois, allowing frontline essential workers and residents 65 and older to get the vaccine. Frontline workers include those who carry a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure because of their work duties, often because they are unable to work from home, or they have to socially distance in order to perform their job duties. This includes first responders and healthcare workers, as well as those in the following fields and industries: K-12 education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections officers and inmates, postal, public transit, grocery stores, and daycare centers.

House Bill 2455

Legislation signed into law provides worker compensation benefits for those essential workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job under specific conditions. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed H.B. 2455 into law, which provides death benefits for first responders who were infected with COVID-19 on duty and also revises state code to expand unemployment benefits and enhance sick pay and leave for workers who contract the virus. However, under the bill, employers can refute claims under certain conditions:

  • An employer can show that the company was adhering to public health guidelines for 14 days prior to when the employee claims they contracted the virus.
  • The employer can prove that the worker was exposed by a source outside of the company.
  • The employee was working remotely from home for a minimum of 14 days before filing the claim.

Call a Chicago Workers’ Comp Attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our daily lives in many ways. With a vaccine being distributed now, Illinois employees may be wondering if COVID-related illness is covered by workers’ compensation benefits. At the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio, our reputable Cook County workplace injury lawyers are well-versed in workers’ comp laws, including new legislation regarding the virus. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 630-574-2288.

 

Sources:

https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/phase-1b

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430

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