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Governor Orders A Presumption Of Work-Relatedness For COVID-19 Cases Suffered By First Responders

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Generally, injured workers seeking workers’ compensation benefits must prove both that: 1.) their injuries are work-connected; and 2.) work activities probably caused or contributed to their injuries. Competent medical evidence is generally necessary to prove that work activities probably caused or contributed to the injury or disability.

The Governor of the State of New Hampshire recently issued Emergency Order #36 alleviating this burden for first responders who contract COVID-19. The Order applies to: (1) call, volunteer, or regular firefighters; (2) law enforcement officers; (3) certified county corrections officers; (4) emergency medical personnel; and (5) rescue or ambulance workers including ambulance service, emergency medical personnel, first responder service, and volunteer personnel. If any such employee makes a claim for workers’ compensation benefits related to contracting COVID-19, the Order creates a presumption that the employee’s exposure and infection are occupationally related.

To be eligible for the protections of the Order, the first responder must have tested positive for COVID-19 and the case must have been reported to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Emergency Order #36 shall remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency that currently exists in New Hampshire. On May 15, 2020, the Governor issued an Executive Order extending the State of Emergency through June 5, 2020.

Should you require assistance with a workers’ compensation matter, you should consult an experienced attorney such as Benjamin T. King, Esquire. New Hampshire Magazine has recognized Attorney King as one of the best attorneys in the State for representing injured employees in workers’ compensation claims, continuously since 2017. Attorney King can be reached at (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form.