NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.
Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.
S2380 – The Essential Employees Bill
We are down to the wire on S2380. The Governor has until September 13, 2020 either to sign this bill or veto it; otherwise, S2380 will become law automatically. This bill creates a rebuttable presumption for essential employees that their contraction of the coronavirus is work related. The employer can rebut the presumption by a preponderance of the evidence (more than 50%) by showing that the worker was not exposed to the disease while working in the place of employment. Essential workers are defined as:
1. Public safety workers or first responders;
2. Those involved in providing medical and other healthcare services, emergency transportation, social services, and other care services, including services provided in health care facilities, residential facilities or homes;
3. Those who perform functions which involve physical proximity to members of the public and are essential to the public’s health, safety, and welfare, including transportation services, hotel and other residential services, financial services, and the production, preparation, storage, sale and distribution of essential goods such as food, beverages, medicine, fuel, and supplies for conducting essential business and work at home, or;
4. Anyone deemed an essential employee by the public authority declaring the state of emergency.
A4134 – Clarification of Hand And Foot Bill On Retroactivity
This Assembly bill has attracted less attention than S2380, but it is important. It clarifies whether the legislation that became law on January 21, 2020 had secondary retroactive effect. The bill created enhanced compensation for hand, foot and finger injuries. However, the bill contained no clear language on which cases it applied to. Questions arose immediately among judges, claimants, practitioners, employers, carriers, and third party administrators regarding the application of the law to claim petitions pending in the Division of Workers’ Compensation as of January 21, 2020 but filed before the effective date of the law.
This bill clearly states that the enhanced compensation for hand, foot and finger injuries applies to all cases pending but not yet settled or filed on or after the date of enactment – January 21, 2020. However, the bill states that the law will not be applicable to cases which have been reopened. The law obviously would not apply to cases that were settled before January 21, 2020.
This bill is limited to the issue of secondary retroactivity and was passed by the Assembly on August 27, 2020. It will be scheduled next for a hearing before the Senate. Readers should be aware that another aspect of this bill raises the cost of burial expenses in cases of compensable accident or occupational disease from $3,500 to $5,000, and that provision too would be applicable to claim petitions pending in the Division of Workers’ Compensation as of January 21, 2020.
Readers who are interested in the method used to compute the enhanced compensation for hand, foot and finger injuries can view the January 23, 2020 blog addressing this subject.
John H. Geaney, Esq., is a Shareholder and Co-Chair in Capehart Scatchard's Workers’ Compensation Group. Mr. Geaney concentrates his practice in the representation of employers, self-insured companies, third-party administrators, and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act. Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Mr. Geaney at 856.914.2063 or by e‑mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.