The Illinois Senate has passed a staph infection presumption bill that could help first responders obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
51-0 for Staph Infection Presumption Bill
The Senate passed House Bill 3662 with a 51-0 vote on May 28, 2021. The Illinois House of Representatives had already passed the staph infection presumption bill a month earlier on a similarly unanimous basis.
HB 3662 is an initiative of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois. It amends the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act to create a “rebuttable presumption” that firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics who have contracted methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) did so in the course and scope of their employment, provided they have held their positions for five years. This presumption could make it easier for them to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for such infections.
Current workers’ compensation law covers conditions including lung and respiratory ailments, blood-borne pathogens, heart and vascular diseases, hypertension, cancer, and tuberculosis. HB 3662 would add MRSA to that list, which Sen. Linda Holmes, who introduced the staph infection presumption bill to the Illinois Senate, believes is crucial.
“The job of a firefighter or EMT includes administering up-close care to people who may be MRSA carriers or infected with MRSA,” said Holmes. “This puts first responders at increased risk for MRSA contamination — it’s common sense that a MRSA infection should be covered under workers’ compensation policies.
“It’s important we update our policies to make sure we’re protecting first responders from emerging threats to their health and safety,” she added.
Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria found on the skin that can lead to serious infections that may result in sepsis or death. MRSA-generated staph infections are often even more difficult to treat because of their greater resistance to antibiotics.
The staph infection presumption bill now moves to the desk of Gov. JB Pritzker. If he signs it into law, HB 3622 would take effect immediately.
Helping Staph Infection Sufferers
The likely passage of the staph infection presumption bill would be a significant victory for our brave first responders. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the rebuttable presumption it creates still does not mean that workers’ compensation benefits would be guaranteed. Claims involving illnesses like staph infections are typically more difficult to establish than claims for traumatic workplace injuries, with insurance companies frequently offering significant pushback.
To help overcome objections to your staph infection claim, do what so many others have done before you and reach out to the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the leading Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law firms in Illinois. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers have fought vigorously on behalf of workers in virtually every profession suffering from nearly every type of illness or injury. We have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation of success necessary to get you and your family the justice you deserve.
Contact GWC today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our work injury attorneys. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.