Recently, Attorney Brent Eames obtained an award of a line of duty disability pension under Article III of the Pension Code on behalf of a police sergeant who suffered disabling injuries due to complications arising from a COVID-19 infection. Given the legal standards and burdens under Article III of the Code, this is a legally significant achievement, and represents one of the only examples in Illinois history of a successful line of duty claim under Article III premised on the COVID-19 virus. Keep reading to learn more about the case, and how our workers’ compensation attorney for police officers was able to meet this high burden of proof.
Unlike the Workers’ Compensation Act, or the recent amendment to Article V of the Pension Code which protects Chicago police officers, Article III of the Illinois Pension Code does not contain any legal presumptions which support claims based upon COVID-19 infection. So, in order win the case, it had to be proven based upon the greater weight of the evidence not only how the sergeant actually contracted the original COVID-19 infection, but also that this exposure was directly related to an act of duty as defined by law. This required more than simply proving that a COVID-19 exposure happened at work. Rather, it needed to be proven that the specific exposure occurred as a result of an act of police duty inherently involving special risk, not ordinarily assumed by a citizen in the ordinary walks of life.
Given what we know about viruses and exposures, how can it be established with any certainty where someone was exposed? Attorney Brent Eames was able to rule out other possible sources via testimony and medical records of the sergeant’s family, which were all negative for any diagnoses or positive lab results during the period at issue. Over the course of two hearing dates and three rounds of legal briefing, Brent Eames was able to establish that the sole evidence of COVID-19 exposure in the record occurred via contact with a fellow officer during the daily roll call process, which required the sergeant to come into close proximity with his fellow officers to run the roll call, administer temperature checks, and hand out police equipment from the equipment room. Attorney Eames successfully argued that the greater weight of the evidence supported the conclusion that the COVID-19 exposure happened during roll call, and that these roll call activities should qualify as acts of duty for purposes of qualifying for a line of duty disability pension pursuant to 40 ILCS 5/3 114.1(a).
Eames Law Group, Ltd. never stops fighting for our clients, and we will aggressively push cases to trial in order to obtain justice when insurance companies attempt to trample on the rights of our clients. If an insurance company has denied your work comp claim or refused to pay work comp benefits, you owe it to yourself to contact one of the best work comp attorneys in Chicago, to discuss your rights. Our firm has been elected to state leadership positions in the area of work comp law, and frequently lectures to other attorneys regarding law, and trial strategies in Illinois work comp cases. If you have been injured, you should immediately contact Brent Eames for a free consultation to discuss your options.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.