Shortly after Illinois announced that it would do the right thing for front-line workers and first responders by making workers' compensation benefits available to those who are exposed to Covid-19 through work, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association filed a lawsuit to block that amendment and a Sangamon County judge did just that.
These essential workers are required to work in a dangerous environment to help keep our stores stocked, our streets safe, and our families and neighbors cared for. They are required to work without proper PPE equipment in many cases, risking their health to make sure they can make ends meet or to make sure our infrastructure doesn't crumble under the weight of this pandemic. If they fall ill with Covid-19, they should be able to claim benefits under Workers' Compensation just like any other injured worker. These workers' compensation insurance companies are some of the most profitable businesses in our economy and they are currently collecting premiums for millions of people who aren't working. This is a windfall for the insurance companies and it is a stab in the back for our local heroes.
It is our expectation, or at least our hope, that the Illinois Legislature will promptly create legislation to protect those we are counting on so much right now. In the meantime, we are still taking calls and providing consultations for front-line workers and first responders who contract Covid-19. These cases will be difficult, if not impossible, to prove up at arbitration if an amendment isn't passed providing a rebuttable presumption for our front-line workers and first responders.
Contact your Illinois State Representative and let them know how important it is to protect our front-line workers and first responders. Not sure who to contact? Use this website to find your representatives.
On April 13, 2020 Illinois announced that it will be easier for first responders and front-line workers to make a workers' compensation claim if they contract the novel Coronavirus. Without this amendment, it would have been difficult to prove that the employee caught the virus in the course of their employment, as opposed to contracting by some other means. By enacting this amendment, Illinois is ensuring that first responders and front-line workers will be afforded protections under their employers' workers' compensation insurance. Marker & Crannell has experienced workers' compensation attorneys who will fight to make sure that Naperville's and Aurora's heroes are protected.
Workers' Compensation Claims for First Responders and Front-Line Workers Who Contract Covid-19
Who is a First Responder or Front-Line Worker?
- Police officers
- Fire personnel
- Emergency medical technicians
- All individuals employed and considered as first responders
- Health care providers engaged in patient care
- Correction officers
Employed by a business that meets these categories:
- “Stores that sell groceries and medicine”
- “Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture”
- “Organizations that provide charitable and social services”
- “Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation”
- “Financial institutions”
- “Hardware and supplies stores”
- “Critical trades”
- “Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services”
- “Educational institutions”
- “Laundry services”
- “Restaurants for consumption off-premises”
- “Supplies to work from home”
- “Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations”
- “Home-based care and services”
- “Residential facilities and shelters”
- “Professional services”
- “Day care centers for employees exempted by [Executive Order 2020-10]”
- “Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries”
- “Critical labor union functions”
- “Hotels and motels” and
- “Funeral services”