Gaithersburg: 301-670-7030
Baltimore: 410-769-5400
Frederick: 301-668-2100
Contact Us For Legal Help

Workers' Compensation Blog

Should There be a Presumptive Law to Protect Essential Workers Who Develop COVID-19?

Friday, July 17, 2020

Maryland’s Essential employees have spent the last several months going to work wondering if they will get sick and inadvertently pass COVID-19 to their family and friends. In many cases, they are forced to take off work for weeks at a time because of possible COVID-19 exposure. Too often this leaves their families in financial ruin. While many essential workers have contracted COVID-19 and recovered, some have had tough recoveries and a few have unfortunately, died. This has led to many questions about how the workers’ compensation system should handle those deemed essential workers who contract COVID-19.

The burden of proving that an illness was contracted at work falls on the injured worker. This is difficult with a virus like COVID-19 because people can have exposures not just at work, but at the grocery store, and in every other aspect of their daily life. In Maryland there are several presumptive laws to protect injured workers who are at a greater risk for developing certain diseases like fire fighters who develop cancer from work exposures. The question is whether or not there should be a similar type of presumption for those Marylanders who are on the front lines and develop COVID-19.

Presumptive laws work by shifting the burden of proof so that in the case of COVID-19, if a specially deemed essential workers gets the virus, we would start with the presumption that they contracted the virus at work and then the burden of proof would go to the Employer and Insurance company to prove that the worker did not get the virus at work.

Several states have already chosen to pass emergency legislation to create an automatic presumption for exposed first responders and healthcare workers. For example, Minnesota enacted an emergency bill that states “[a first responder or healthcare worker] who contracts COVID-19 is presumed to have an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment.” Similarly, Kentucky passed an executive order stating “it shall be presumed that removal of [a first responder or healthcare worker] from work by a physician is due to occupational exposure to COVID-19."

We will likely have to wait until the next legislative session in 2021 to see if Maryland adopts something similar to Minnesota and Kentucky.

Attorney Brian Rollyson

Brian Rollyson
brollyson@bsgfdlaw.com

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

RSS

What Our Clients Say

Known for our unwavering commitment to clients, for our integrity, and for delivering the best results, our clients continue to refer their friends, families and neighbors to us for their legal needs.


"One year ago today I made the call to your office. The best decision I could make. I wanted to share with you how impressed I am with your staff and your professionalism."

Heather P.


"Craig did a great job representing me! He's the lawyer I have trusted with my legal needs because he's professional, knowledgeable, and keeps me informed about my case."

Jaclyn K.


" wanted to thank you, in writing, for your kindness and prompt response. Customer service is a dying art, and you gave me hope for my family."

Karla


"I would like to express my gratitude for your efforts and dedication for my disability case. It's has been quite a long and upsetting process but you have handled my case in an extremely competent and responsible manner."

Leo H.


"I have recommended Mr. Feldman to several of my friends and colleagues and have heard nothing but excellent reviews. He is the best lawyer I have ever used."

Martin


"I received the check today. I could not believe it until I saw the check. Thank you so much. You have improved my family's quality of life tenfold."

Mike F.


"These guys go above and beyond! They always have your best interest in mind."

Mike W.


"I would like to express my thanks to Amanda Knott and Gretchen Rogers for their patience with me through my ordeal with my workers comp claim. I was impressed from the very beginning when I spoke with G. Rogers on the phone and although she did not have to, she met with me personally and walked me through the steps of what to expect in this process."

Mr Sagal


"You have been kind throughout this process and I appreciate your professionalism as well as your gentle concern. Thanks for helping us and all the others who need your legal expertise. We are grateful."

Nancy F.


"Thanks to Mr. Shultz's aggressive and professional work ethic style I was able to receive the medical services and compensation pertaining to my case."

Navdeep C.


"I can honestly say this firm is simply TOP NOTCH! They not only have handled countless cases for my members that require their services, they also have gone well beyond their "scope" to help some of my folks in other areas of need. "

Rick H.


"I wanted to compliment your law firm on having Amanda Knott as a paralegal. She worked tirelessly for almost 2 years making sure I understood what was happening and at the same time keeping all my records straight and in order, which allowed Gretchen Rogers to represent me in the best way possibl"

Terrye G


"The attention and professional care the staff has taken toward my needs has always been excellent. I have no complaints nor worries that my issues discussed are not addressed."

Tim T.


"I just got off the phone with Craig and let him know how thankful we are to you, him and Ken for all your efforts – you are all really terrific to work with!"

Val K.


Locations Throughout Maryland & Washington DC

Gaithersburg Office

481 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
301-670-7030 / 800-248-3352
Fax: 301-670-9492

Lutherville Office

1301 York Road, Suite 600
Lutherville, MD 21093
410-769-5400 / 800-248-3352
Fax: 410-769-9200

Frederick Office

30 W. Patrick Street, Suite 105
Frederick, MD 21701
301-668-2100 / 800-827-2667
Fax: 301-668-2000


TOP