As of April 30, 2020, Connecticut does not yet have a law creating a presumption of work-relatedness for the diagnosis of COVID-19. The standard for establishing a causal relation between occupation and a communicable disease remains the one established by Murchison v. Skinner Prec. Ind., Inc., 162 Conn 142 (1972). Absent admissible proof that establishes exposure occurred in the course and furtherance of an employee’s work; a resulting claim will not be compensable. However, numerous media reports suggest that Governor Lamont has been considering an executive order that would nonetheless create a presumption for essential workers diagnosed with COVID-19.
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.
Many states across the country have either already passed or are already considering laws creating sweeping evidentiary presumptions for COVID-19 workers’ compensation coverage. These laws present both practical and legal problems for employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers and may also ultimately frustrate their intended beneficiaries, 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 such as police dispatchers and hospital administrators, and under broad, often leaving out other 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 the courts - these bills may not withstand constitutional challenges based on retroactivity, the takings clause, the contracts clause, and due process.
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.