Attention First Responder, Health Care Workers, and other Essential Employees:
We are acutely aware of what is going on right now in our communities. You are on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, and we are very grateful for your service.
We know you may have questions about whether COVID-19 will be considered a work-related illness. Ridge & Downes is here to help. The novel coronavirus is not listed in state law as an occupational disease. This means a worker who contracts the virus would have to clear some hurdles to establish compensability. In Illinois, a claimant must show that there is a greater risk connected with the employment.
These hurdles may be less burdensome for firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics. The Act contains a presumption that when these workers suffer lung or respiratory disease, the condition is rebuttably presumed to arise out of the employment. This presumption only applies to these workers employed greater than 5 years.
Regardless of your industry, we recommend you keep detailed records of potential exposures, extra shifts worked, and a timeline on symptoms experienced. This will assist us in proving the causal relationship between your employment and contracting COVID-19.
We will keep you apprised as the situation develops, as we are hoping to see legislative action on this issue.
As always, please do not hesitate to call us at (800) 572-1136 with questions.