GOVERNOR PRITZKER SIGNS HB4276 INTO LAW, EXTENDING REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION FOR COVID-19 OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE CLAIMS
March 12, 2021
As expected, on February 26, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 4276 for COVID-19 occupational disease claims in Illinois into law. This law extends application of the original rebuttable presumption legislation enacted in June, 2020, which states that front line or essential workers (as defined by the Executive Order from March 2020) alleging COVID-19 exposure and contraction shall be rebuttably presumed to have been exposed at work, and that such exposure is causally connected to said exposure. Specifically, the law extends application of the original rebuttable presumption legislation, to now include all cases where the diagnosis was made on or after March 9, 2020 to on or before June 30, 2021. The full breakdown of the original rebuttable presumption law can be found in our prior alert here.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been ongoing for the past year, and despite the number of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims filed with the IWCC, the amount of actual litigation with in-person testimony is quite limited. To date, it is not known how the IWCC will rule on compensability of COVID-19 claims, as well as the approach to a factual analysis that will be taken. Consequently, with the world beginning to loosen COVID-19 restrictions, it is as important as ever for employers to continue to follow CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines to the fullest extent possible, communicate these procedures to their employees, and document implementation of these practices in order to introduce them into evidence at trial if necessary. Additionally, it is important to continue to follow insurance mandates and recommendations to not only try to limit the amount of COVID-19 claims, but also to defend and resolve COVID-19 claims when they do arise. Furthermore, employers should continue to follow CDC, as well as state and local guidelines on the COVID-19 vaccine as the rollout continues.
If you have any questions on the possible impact of COVID-19 on your business, whether your business may be impacted by this law, and possible precautions you can take from a legal standpoint, please contact us at Wiedner and McAuliffe by email or phone at 312-855-1105.