As the national rollout of the various COVID vaccines continues across the country the economy is starting to gather steam. Many of our clients who are unemployed due to the pandemic will be returning to work as life starts to return to normal. Sadly, there are many who acquired the COVID-19 virus and are continuing to suffer from the persistent, and, in some cases, permanent impairment caused by the virus. As many of us know who have sought workers’ compensation benefits for clients who have acquired an infectious disease, such claims can be extremely challenging to prosecute. Most states bar a claimant from receiving benefits under an occupational disease statute due to exclusion from coverage of an “ordinary disease of life to which the general public is equally exposed.” While there are some arguments to be made COVID-19 is not an “ordinary disease” and that some occupations (first responders, hospital workers, etc.) may fit into an exception to the “ordinary disease of life” exclusion, the road to recovery for such claimants can be long and fraught with potholes and other hazards.
Regardless of the path we take to bring a COVID case, one thing is for sure, you MUST have a rock-solid causation case. To help WILG® members better understand what it takes to establish causation, WILG® will be presenting a seminar on April 16, 2021 designed to educate us on how to use the available medical knowledge about how COVID is acquired in the workplace to prove causation. The medical faculty for the seminar consists of Dr. Ed Baker, an Epidemiologist who has worked for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and Harvard School of Public Health, and Dr. Robert Harrison, whose practice focuses on Occupational Medicine and who founded and directed the University of California at San Francisco Occupational Health Services Department. Please do not wait to sign up for this helpful and informative seminar. Drs. Baker and Harrison will be available after the conclusion of their presentations to answer any questions you may have relevant to any COVID case you may be handling.
In further convention notes it appears the 2021 Convention at the Breakers is not only shaping up to be one of our best from an educational perspective, but also one of our most heavily attended. The Breakers is reporting our room block for the convention is rapidly filling. While WILG®’s staff is doing their best to secure additional rooms, you must book your room quickly if you want to stay at the Breakers during the convention. If WILG® is unable to secure additional rooms for members, we will attempt to secure a room block at a nearby hotel. Please keep an eye out for emails from Executive Director Jennifer Comer regarding this issue.
Hoping a great spring for everyone and that everyone gets vaccinated soon!
Mr. Malcolm M. Crosland Jr. Esq., President
The Steinberg Law Firm, L.L.P.
61 Broad Street
Charleston SC 29402