COVID-19 Update from McCarthy O’Connor P.C.
In this time of uncertainty and continued developments regarding COVID-19, we want to assure our clients that we are operating full-time virtually and are here to answer your questions as things continue to develop. Documents that must be mailed can still be mailed to our office address and we can be contacted on our office line (816)-412-9951. We can also be reached via e-mail. We will continue to update you as we receive information from the applicable courts regarding procedural changes for hearings and routine matters. At this time, routine matters are being handled telephonically.
Several of our clients have inquired regarding workers compensation and specific scenarios that may require coverage for employees who contract COVID-19. We continue to follow developments nationally. The insurance industry seems to agree that the virus impact on Workers’ Compensation will be limited but some workers may be covered. At this time, we can provide the following insight into how these claims will be handled in Missouri and Kansas:
FIRST RESPONDERS AND HEALTH CARE WORKERS
First responders and medical employees will often have a risk higher than that experienced in everyday life of contracting COVID-19 based on their job duties. If a firefighter, police officer or health care worker contracts COVID-19 the claim must be viewed differently than with other employees. At least one state, Washington, has pending legislation providing that workers compensation will presumptively cover wage loss and medical treatment for any health care worker or first responder who contracts COVID-19. At this time, no such legislation is pending in Missouri or Kansas but we will continue to follow developments and keep you up to date.
ALL OTHER EMPLOYEES
Under Missouri and Kansas law, in order for a virus to be compensable an employee must prove that because of his or her occupation, he was at an increased risk of contracting a disease that is otherwise considered a “disease of ordinary life.” These claims need to be analyzed on a case by case basis. We will be happy to assist you with this analysis as these claims arise.
As always, we appreciate your business and are here to help guide you through this uncertainty. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.