April 14, 2020 Guest Post – Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. “New COVID-19 Legislation for Minnesota’s First Responders”

In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, our state government has taken swift and decisive action to financially protect Minnesota’s first responders who contract the virus.

Governor Tim Walz signed into law a revision to the Minnesota’s workers’ compensation statute that creates a presumption that COVID-19 is a work-related occupational disease for first responders. This revision increases the likelihood that Minnesota’s first responders who are infected with COVID-19 will receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits include compensation for lost wages and medical expenses that are incurred because of COVID-19.

What does this “presumption” mean?

Typically, to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for an occupational disease, Minnesota workers must prove that that their condition arose out of their employment and occurred in the course of their employment. However, the new COVID-19 presumption shifts the burden of proof, meaning that the courts will presume that a first responder’s COVID-19 arose out of and occurred in the course and scope of employment, unless the employer/insurer is able to prove otherwise.

When is it effective?

The new presumption was signed into law by the Governor on April 7, 2020 and became effective on April 8, 2020.

Who is entitled to this new presumption as a “first responder”?

The new revision covers licensed peace officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, health care workers, correctional officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and many long-term care facility workers. The presumption also covers workers required to provide child care to first responders and health care workers.

If you are a Minnesota first responder suffering from COVID-19, Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. can help you understand your rights. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. will help you navigate the system and help you obtain access to a variety of resources and benefits with compassionate, expert legal counsel. Contact us for a free confidential, no-obligation consultation. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.

While many in Minnesota are following the governor’s advice to stay home and follow social distancing guidelines, Minnesota’s first responders continue to help those in need and keep their communities safe. We thank Governor Walz and the Minnesota legislature for recognizing these sacrifices and supporting our first responders.