Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 First Responders in Illinois
Amidst the battle against coronavirus or COVID-19, the Illinois government has recently stepped up to protect the most vulnerable front-line, essential workers. As of April 13th, 2020, J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois made an emergency amendment to the workers’ compensation rules in Illinois for the next 150 days. This article will break down the emergency amendment, discuss what legal recourse essential workers will have if they contract COVID-19 during this state of emergency, as well as explain who is considered a “front-line worker”.
Who is Considered a “Front-Line”, “COVID-19 First Responder” or “Essential” Worker?
This new emergency amendment considers Front-Line, COVID-19 First Responder essential workers as any individual employed as police, fire personnel, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics. In addition to these first responders, the new amendment also recognizes health care providers engaged in patient care, correction officers and the following crucial personnel as front-line workers:
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine
- Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture
- Organizations that provide charitable and social services
- Gas stations and transportation businesses
- Financial institutions
- Hardware and supply stores
- Critical trades
- Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
- Educational institutions
- Laundry services
- Restaurants for consumption off-premises
- Residential facilities and shelters
- Supplies to work from home
- Supplies for essential businesses and operations
- Home-based care and services
- Professional services
- Day care centers for employees exempted by Executive Order 2020-10
- Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for crucial products and industries
- Critical labor union functions
- Hotels and motels
- Funeral services
As you can see, the list of essential workers that will be covered by this new emergency amendment is extensive. As COVID-19 spreads over the next 150 days, any essential workers who contract COVID-19, will be eligible for workers’ compensation under this new rule. Keep reading for more details on what this means for essential workers.
What If Essential Workers Are Diagnosed With COVID-19?
This new amendment put into place on April 13th states, “In any proceeding before the Commission where the petitioner is a COVID-19 First Responder or Front-Line Worker, if the petitioner’s injury or period of incapacity resulted from exposure to the COVID-19 virus during a COVID-19-related state of emergency, the exposure will be rebuttably presumed to have arisen out of and in the course of the petitioner’s COVID-19 First Responder or Front-Line Worker employment and, further, will be rebuttably presumed to be casually connected to the hazards or exposures of the petitioner’s COVID-19 First Responder or Front-Line Worker employment.”
This means that if you are a front-line worker as defined in the list above and you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it will be legally presumed that you contracted the virus due to your job as an essential worker. Under this emergency amendment, essential workers will be afforded the full protections of the Workers’ Compensation Act in the event they are exposed to or contract the virus.
Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.
If you are an essential worker still showing up every day to do your job and help others, we greatly appreciate the role that you are playing in keeping our country alive. Should you fall ill to the COVID-19 virus, we don’t want you to have to worry about your financial situation on top of everything else. The skilled attorneys at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd. are here to help you get the workers’ compensation that you deserve during this difficult and uncertain time.
Whiteside & Goldberg Law Group always offers a free consultation before you make the decision to proceed. You do not have to worry about paying anything upfront to work with an experienced attorney. You never make a payment until they win a settlement for you. As a COVID-19 First Responder, you are more vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus than most. For expert legal advice, call 312-334-6875 to speak to an attorney. Get the professional legal help that you need.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.