State Specific Workers’ Compensation Information

The rules and processes regarding Workers’ Compensation claims for COVID-19 remain unresolved in most jurisdictions. By default, these claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis in which insurers and Workers’ Compensation Boards attempt to determine whether there is a causal connection between a worker’s illness and their job. Because of the possibility of asymptomatic transmission and transmission within the broader community, this is often impossible to determine clearly. To avoid this uncertainty, many states created a presumption in favor of claims from some employees – most typically first responders and healthcare workers. A few states – most notably Illinois and California – have gone further, extending such presumptions in favor of broader classes of employees. Many other states are considering legislation to clarify or adapt their rules for COVID-19 claims.

However the rules evolve in your state, the best way to mitigate any potential liability and protect your employees’ safety is to make a good faith effort to follow your jurisdiction’s public health guidance and the CDC and OSHA guidance for businesses and workplaces. Of course, these guidelines are not clear in all cases, so if you need help navigating the many resources and recommendations that are available, we are happy to work with you to develop a plan for your business.

 

 

ALABAMA: No specific guidance available.

ALASKA: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare WorkersGuidance from Workers’ Compensation Board creates a presumption in favor of COVID-19 claims from first responders and healthcare workers.

ARIZONA: Carriers may not categorically deny COVID-19 claims, they are obligated to review claims in good faith and make decisions grounded in fact.

ARKANSAS: Executive Order confirms COVID-19 can be classified as an occupational disease subject to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Burden of proof remains with the employee to establish a causal connection to their employment.

CALIFORNIA: Broad Presumption Favoring Employee Claims. Executive Order stipulates any COVID-19 related illness is presumed to be work-related if the employee reported to work away from their home within the 14 days prior to being diagnosed. The employer may refute this presumption, but may only do so within 30 days of the claim being filed. Other legislation being considered in State Senate.

COLORADO: Senate considering a bill to create a presumption in favor of employee COVID-19 claims.

CONNECTICUT: No specific guidance available.

DELAWARE: No specific guidance available.

FLORIDA: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. First responders and other state employees, including healthcare workers, are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits for COVID-19 illness regardless of any non-work factors that may have contributed to the illness. Other essential workers are entitled to benefits if COVID-19 is contracted because of their work, but no special presumptions apply.

GEORGIA: No specific guidance available.

IDAHO: No specific guidance available.

ILLINOIS: Broad Presumption Favoring Employee Claims. State law creates rebuttable presumption in favor of COVID-19 claims from essential employees. Employers may rebut the presumption if they have been following CDC and IL Public Health guidance regarding COVID-19 precautions, and also if they can demonstrate that the employee was exposed to the virus elsewhere. Only applies to essential businesses whose employees come into contact with the public or who work in locations with 15+ employees.

IOWA: No specific guidance available.

KANSAS: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

KENTUCKY: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. Executive Order establishes a presumption in favor of healthcare workers, first responders, childcare workers, and a limited set of other essential workers. Other workers may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if exposed to COVID-19, but must demonstrate a causal connection to employment.

LOUISIANA: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

MAINE: No specific guidance available.

MARYLAND: No specific guidance available.

MASSACHUSETTS: No specific guidance available.

MICHIGAN: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. “First responders and healthcare workers are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits for COVID-19 and may only be denied if specific facts establish that the worker was not exposed to COVID-19 at work.  Additional legislation being considered.”

MINNESOTA: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. “State law creates presumption in favor of COVID-19 claims from first responders, healthcare workers, and emergency childcare workers.  Additional legislation under consideration.”

MISSISSIPPI: No specific guidance available.

MISSOURI: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. Emergency Rule from Division of Workers’ Compensation creates a presumption in favor of first responders.

MONTANA: No specific guidance available.

NEBRASKA: No specific guidance available.

NEVADA: No specific guidance available.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. Executive Order creates a presumption in favor of first responders and public safety workers.

NEW JERSEY: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

NEW MEXICO: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. Executive Order establishes a presumption in favor of first responders and state / public agency employees involved in the care of COVID-19 patients or working in a facility that cares for COVID-19 patients.

NEW YORK: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

NORTH CAROLINA: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

NORTH DAKOTA: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. Executive Orders establish that first responders, healthcare workers, and funeral directors are eligible for Workers’ Compensation if they contract COVID-19 in connection with their work. The Executive Orders do not establish any specific presumption in favor of the employee.

OHIO: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

OKLAHOMA: No specific guidance available.

OREGON: No specific guidance available.

PENNSYLVANIA: Considering legislation.

RHODE ISLAND: Considering legislation.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

SOUTH DAKOTA: No specific guidance available.

TENNESSEE: No specific guidance available.

TEXAS: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. Some presumptions favoring first responders, otherwise claims evaluated case-by-case.

UTAH: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare WorkersState law creates a presumption in favor of COVID-19 claims from first responders.

VERMONT: Various bills under consideration in state legislature.

VIRGINIA: No specific guidance available.

WASHINGTON: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. “Under certain circumstances, claims from health care providers and first responders involving COVID-19 may be allowed. Other claims that meet certain criteria for exposure will be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

WEST VIRGINIA: No specific guidance available.

WISCONSIN: Presumption Favoring First Responders / Healthcare Workers. “Changes under 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 create a rebuttable presumption that first responders are covered by worker’s compensation where an injury to a first responder is caused by COVID-19 during the Public Health Emergency (Executive Order #72) proclaimed by the Governor and ending 30 days after the order ends.”

WYOMING: Broad Presumption Favoring Employee Claims. State law creates a presumption in favor of COVID-19 claims from all employees covered by Workers’ Compensation. Claims related to COVID-19 may not affect any employer’s experience mod.

Source: NCCI

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