On June 2, 2020 Colorado State Senator Robert Rodriguez introduced Senate Bill 216 which would have created a workers’ compensation presumption for COVID-19 for “essential workers”. A fiscal note attached to the bill estimated costs for Colorado state as employer would amount to four million dollars for the fiscal year2020-2021 and over six million dollars for fiscal year 2021-2022. On June 10, 2020 the bill was postponed indefinitely by Colorado’s Senate Appropriations Committee.
Although Colorado does not yet have a law creating a presumption of work-relatedness for the diagnosis of COVID-19, national trends suggest that another attempt at such legislation may only be a matter of time. Many states across the country have either already passed or are considering laws creating sweeping evidentiary presumptions for COVID-19 workers’ compensation coverage.
As of April 30, 2020,
does not yet have a law creating a presumption of work-relatedness for the diagnosis of COVID-19. However, national trends suggest that such legislation may only be a matter of time.
Laws creating broad evidentiary presumptions for COVID-19 present both practical and legal problems for employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers and may also ultimately frustrate their intended beneficiaries -- the front-line workers suffering from COVID-19. For workers, the rush to legislate has resulted in bills that are overbroad, covering employees with no special risk of exposure e.g. police dispatchers and hospital administrators, and under broad, often leaving out less glamorous jobs with high exposure such as bus drivers and store clerks. For employers and insurers, these laws radically shift the burden of proof on existing policies and may create enormous liabilities. Challenges to these laws will need to be resolved by courts - these bills may not withstand constitutional challenges based on retroactivity, the takings clause, the contracts clause, and due process.
Chartwell is working across the nation to represent the interests of insurers and employers. Chartwell attorneys are on the front-line litigating all issues associated with COVID-19 and are available to advise regarding both individual claims and litigation challenging legislation.
Chartwell Law represents the interests of insurers and employers, as such, we continue to continue to monitor the legal landscape. If you have any questions about issues associated with COVID-19, our attorneys are available to help. Please contact your Chartwell Law attorney or email us at Covid19WC@chartwelllaw.com.