The COVID-19 environment has generated renewed conversations around compensability presumptions. Some argue that broadening workers’ compensation coverage beyond what are employment related risks for which employers have no ability to control or prevent, would seem not only counter-productive but counter intuitive as well. Such broadening could generate the perception that we are entering a new era through presumptions where the focus is moving towards “socialization of risks” and less on the distinctions of work-related risk and its attendant focus on a safe and productive work environment. It remains to be seen if this is a true shift representing a new era moving to a greater degree towards socialization of risks.
This is the second paper in a series produced by the Sedgwick Institute on the concept of presumptions in workers’ compensation. The first, written by Judge David Langham and Chris Mandel, focused on the impact of presumptions of compensability for COVID-19 and its attendant consequences. This paper will review the impact of presumptions in general for the workers’ compensation systems.