Connecticut Introduces “Presumption of Eligibility” Related To COVID Comp Claims
We’ve discussed this in other posts before, but let’s go over the details. Workers right now who are filing claims related to COVID-19 (including health care workers) are having their claims denied on the basis that they cannot prove how or where they contracted the illness. Meanwhile, state legislatures are passing laws to limit the liability of companies related to COVID-19. In other words, if a worker is injured at work and the workers’ comp insurer denies their claim, they would typically have recourse to file a negligence lawsuit against their employer. However, COVID immunity prevents that. This leaves a situation where some workers’ are having to fight for compensation over claims that are nearly impossible to prove, but still the most likely cause of their illness. A new Connecticut statute could help workers file these claims and prevent workers’ comp insurers from denying COVID-related claims.
The Presumption of Eligibility
If you make employers immune from lawsuits while allowing workers’ compensation insurers to deny COVID claims, then you have a situation where the worker is unprotected. Essentially, if a worker were to fall ill with the disease, miss significant time from work due to complications of the disease, they would have no way to recover money that they would have otherwise been entitled to under workers’ compensation law. The presumption of eligibility forces workers’ compensation providers to process the claim. An employer can still contest the claim, but the presumption tilts the scales toward the worker. The burden of proof would be on the employer to show that the worker did not contract the illness at work.
Employers, of course, don’t like this. Such legislation would almost certainly cause their premiums to spike during the pandemic and reduce income during a time where income is quite difficult to come by. But when weighing the interests of all parties, an endless stream of bankruptcy claims filed by injured workers or lawsuits directed at employers is not good for anyone, including the worker, who will have to wait until the situation is resolved before they receive benefits.
Does the Presumption of Eligibility Go Far Enough?
The presumption of eligibility will prevent claims from being denied when insurance providers cannot prove that the worker contracted the illness elsewhere. With the burden of proof on the insurance company, the majority of workers’ comp claims should go through. However, the insurance company and the employer still have the option of digging in to attempt to prove the claim. This can cause the process to be held up for years. In other words, employers and their insurers can still stall and delay the process. It’s a middle ground that neither side can be entirely comfortable with.
Talk to a Miami Injury Attorney
You’ll never need the resources a Miami personal injury attorneys can provide you more than when you’re recovering from an injury. Call Payer Law today to discuss all of your options relating to personal injury or workers compensation lawsuits.