Ohio lawmakers have proposed multiple bills that would expand the Ohio workers’ compensation laws in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of March 2020, lawmakers introduced House Bill 573 that would include COVID-19 as a statutorily defined occupational disease under the Ohio workers’ compensation laws, similar to other occupational diseases such as asbestosis.

Continue Reading Proposed changes to Ohio workers’ compensation laws react to COVID-19 pandemic

This blog was updated on April 28, 2020 in the blog, “Avoiding the avalanche for now: Court Issues temporary restraining order barring Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s emergency amendment.

As of April 16, 2020, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has created a rebuttable presumption that, for any essential employee who contracts COVID-19 and later files for workers’ compensation for those injuries, that employee’s injuries will be presumed to have arisen out of, and be causally connected to, their employment.


Continue Reading Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission opens the door to an avalanche of COVID-19 claims

On Friday April 10, 2020 the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors approved Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to distribute $1.6 billion to state business in light of the current economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreed amount is roughly equal to premiums paid by Ohio employers for the 2018 policy year.
Continue Reading Ohio BWC to refund $1.6 billion to Ohio employers

On April 8, 2019, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) published an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that specifically recognizes the potential compensability of COVID-19 claims as occupational disease claims. The BWC acknowledges that although communicable diseases like COVID-19 are typically not compensable, there is a possibility that the BWC could allow claims for this virus. When evaluating compensability, the BWC will consider how the disease was contracted and the nature of the claimant’s occupation. The BWC is careful to note that few jobs will have a greater risk of exposure than the general public which will be a hurdle for a claimant with a COVID-19 claim.
Continue Reading Updated Ohio BWC guidance regarding COVID-19 concerns

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 197 (HB 197) on March 27, 2020, which tolls numerous workers’ compensation deadlines set to expire between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020.

Therefore, any relevant statute of limitations related to workers’ compensation claims will not expire during the time period between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020.  This change will impact several key events in the workers’ compensation claim process.


Continue Reading What parties need to know about tolled statutes of limitations for Ohio workers’ compensation claims

As COVID-19 cases continue to mount nationwide, so have lawsuits relating to fallout from the virus. On April 6, 2020, in one of the first COVID-19-related lawsuits of its kind, the estate of an Illinois Walmart Supercenter employee sued Walmart and the premises owner for wrongful death in Toney Evans v. Walmart, Inc., et al.

Continue Reading Workplace exposure to COVID-19: Can employers be liable?

As we recently reported, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to provide paid Family Medical Leave (FMLA) and paid sick leave to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the law provides a number of protections to American workers, it also has a few gaps. One gap in the FFCRA, for example, is that it does not apply to employers of 500 or more employees.

Continue Reading New York becomes first state to enact paid sick leave law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

On March 19, 2020, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) issued some guidance to employers and employees to explain how the BWC is continuing to operate during this crisis. The BWC is continuing to process claims. For employers, the present changes may result in increased claim costs attributed to their risk. The BWC is permitting benefits to continue while suspending some of the employees’ requirements to maintain those benefits.

Continue Reading Ohio BWC guidance for employers during COVID-19 outbreak

Presently there are many uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. It is certainly possible employees will allege they contracted coronavirus while at work. Given that the United States has not experienced a pandemic in a significant period of time, this is a gray area for employers. Most states do not have specific legislation addressing this situation.

In general, any illness, injury or occupational disease could be a compensable claim if it arises out of the course and scope of the employee’s employment. The difficulty is that it is likely impossible to determine with certainty as to where the employee contracted the disease. Workplaces with significant public contact may see a rise in such claim applications.
Continue Reading Workers’ compensation implications of COVID-19 in the workplace