Reports of long-term symptoms of COVID-19 have experts concerned about how these 'long-distance cases' may affect the worker's compensation system.
With symptoms varying widely and the unknown over how long they will last, the industry came to have to prepare for the possibility of long-term cases of coronavirus, experts say. Twenty states either have COVID-19 assumptions in place or are considering such legislation for a virus whose overall impact is not yet known.
"We just do not know what our compensation team will see later, and without the long-distance type of research, we definitely need to be aware of it," said Kimberly George, Chicago-based senior vice president of corporate development, mergers and acquisitions. Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., in a webinar on February 1
While most individuals affected by COVID-19 recover within a few weeks, research published by the American Medical Association estimates that approximately 10% of COVID-19 patients experience long-term symptoms that include ongoing fatigue, "brain fog." difficulty sleeping, loss of smell and taste, joint pain, shortness of breath and cough.
And for cases of chronic coronavirus in work skills, it can "definitely be an argument that some of these cause long-term disability," said Rich Lenkov, capital member and chief compensation officer at Bryce Downey & Lenkov LLC in Chicago.
"I think there will be some responsibility there," he said. "But remember, (the worker) still has to prove that they developed COVID from work, and even in states with a presumption … I find that difficult to prove." Many of the state's assumptions can be refuted, which means that the employer can combat the claim by trying to prove that the worker was not infected at work.
The key to understanding the long-term effects of COVID-19 could be found in the history of others. diseases, such as Lyme disease acquired through a work-related attachment bite or pneumoconiosis from prolonged exposure to asbestos, experts say.
"What is similar to COVID is that the symptoms may not be expressed directly," says Mr. In Lenkov. "But when it comes to the value of that damage, there is not much precedent to continue."
Michael Russell, a plaintiff's attorney and partner in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, law firm Mears, Smith, Houser & Boyle PC, said he has sued many Lyme disease workers over the years with varying results on whether the claim is taken up. .
"I suspect that the type of case (similar to Lyme disease) that we will see on COVID will probably be medical personnel on the front lines, he said." But the defense will be significant. … In these types of new cases, they will need medical evidence to relate the symptoms to the diagnosis. These symptoms, based on what we see, can be very different. ”
Another issue is to place the value on a long-term COVID-19 disability with symptoms such as loss of sense of smell or taste that may not occur. on state disability classification schemes.
"If you lose your ability to taste or smell is related to your cold," as for a chef or sommelier, "it is even more lucrative, "he said.
As a workers compensation lawyer whose clients are primarily in the hotel industry, Anthony Cannizzo, partner at the Los Angeles office in Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, said he" completely takes "to see a loss of taste or smell come over his desk at some point.
"My advice to my clients will be that we really focus on the value of the medical evidence insofar as there are reliable studies to ensure that these views are not based on junk science," he said.
"You open Pandor's box if you accept the claims of a sense of good faith and sympathy," Lenkov said. If you accept (coronavirus requirements), you do so at your own risk. You are potentially buying an unknown damage on the road. ”
More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here . Catalog