June 2020 Firm Update
Happy June! Here are a few updates:
1) Our firm has a new attorney. Maxx Forti has been working as a law clerk, and is now a 2020 Graduate of Marquette University Law School. Maxx is a 2017 Graduate of Elon University in North Carolina majoring in Sports Management with a minor in Business Associations. While in law school, Maxx was an investigative intern for the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights. Maxx took and did well in Marquette’s worker’s compensation course, which was co-taught by Attys Tom Domer and Bill Sachse. We are happy he is here.
2) As Wisconsin continues to open up, it is very important to consider:
a) Some employers have remained closed, some are partially opened, and some are opened completely. Thus, you will need to determine on a case-by-case basis whether TTD benefits need to continue.
b) You may see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, you need to monitor these closely. To assist:
i) Make sure you have a positive test before agreeing to accept a case as WC.
ii) The test should tell you whether the person currently is sick or has the antibody (meaning he/she already had Covid-19). There are two different kinds of tests. One test just provides a positive/negative diagnosis, and the other test will tell you if the antibody is present. The test for the antibody is a blood draw test. The test that will provide a positive/negative result is a molecular test – nose or throat swab. You may want to request both tests. If you need more information: How do COVID-19 antibody tests differ from diagnostic tests?
iii) Make sure to take a detailed recorded statement including when symptoms began, any other jobs, all activities (gyms, churches, etc. are reopening), places visited, who are their household members and whether they are working, have been sick or exposed, etc. There are plenty of other questions to ask or situations that may create special questions. Call if you want to discuss a particular case.
iv) Make sure you talk to the employer about any work exposures, when the employee worked (so you can compare it to the symptoms, test date, etc.), whether the employee made any statements, and/or are there any co-workers or witnesses you should talk to.
c) Here is DWD’s link to COVID-19 claims: Worker’s Compensation COVID-19 Public Information. Their answer to Question #1 is helpful to show that just because someone has COVID-19, it does not mean it is a work injury:
i) “For coronavirus to be covered by worker’s compensation it must be established that contracting the disease was work-related. In other words there must be evidence to prove that contracting coronavirus arose out of your employment while you were performing services growing out of and incidental to your employment.”
3) OWCH still has not stated when they plan to re-start hearings.
4) ALJ Stanley Michelstetter (Madison) will retire on June 1, 2020, and ALJ Nancy Schneiders (Milwaukee) on June 15, 2020. OWCH has posted an ad to hire additional judges.
5) IME provider Dr. William Merrick passed away. Here is his obituary: Merrick, William Andrew “Bill”.