Levinson Axelrod, P.A. Partner Richard J. Marcolus recently delivered a presentation to state legislators covering 50 states to discuss how and why a presumption law is necessary to protect workers who contract the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the course of their employment.
As we’ve discussed on our blog, the pandemic has had broad implications in the workplace. Not only have numerous workers contracted the virus as a result of performing their duties and essential jobs, hundreds of essential workers in New Jersey, and thousands across the U.S., have died from COVID-19.
According to a recent survey, 54% of U.S. workers say they harbor concerns about COVID-19 exposure at their jobs. These fears, as well as uncertainties surrounding the virus and how the pandemic will unfold, will likely add to the challenges of bringing employees back to the workplace and re-opening the economy.
Creating a Legal Presumption
Lawmakers throughout the nation are currently considering legislation to amend workers’ compensation laws and create a legal presumption for workers who contract COVID-19.
The presumption would alleviate the need for claimants prove a clear connection between the condition and the nature of their work, and create a clearer path to benefits. Without a presumption, workers and families would face the exceedingly difficult if not impossible task of proving they contracted the coronavirus from their work.
A Career of Committed Advocacy
As a former skilled tradesman who earned a living as a carpenter in construction before becoming a lawyer, Rich Marcolus remains a Union member who’s committed his career to helping injured workers.
In addition to advocating on behalf of clients at Levinson Axelrod, Rich is also actively involved in supporting legislative efforts that ensure rights and protections for workers and their families.
One piece of legislation supported by Rich in the wake of 9/11, the Canzanella Act, was finally passed in July 2019 as a means to protect First Responders who seek benefits after developing certain medical conditions caused by exposure to harmful substances. That law is now protecting First Responders who contract COVID-19 while working the front lines of the epidemic.
Rich’s latest efforts have been focused on educating legislators about the importance of laws that address COVID-19 in the workplace. With so many workers and families concerned or impacted by the coronavirus, Rich has passionately petitioned lawmakers for their support. Recently, he testified before the state Senate Labor Committee in support of SB 2380, a measure that would create a COVID-19 legal presumption for essential front line workers.
Levinson Axelrod, P.A. is immensely proud of Rich’s efforts to support needed legislation that expand the rights of workers. Over the years, his passion for fighting on behalf of working men and women has helped our firm secure $250 million in settlements and verdicts in the last 5 years, and more than $1 billion in recovered compensation in our history.
If you have questions about workers’ compensation, COVID-19, and whether you may have a potential claim concerning workplace exposure, Rich and our team at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. are here to help. Call or contact us online to request a free and confidential consultation.