Shareholder Nick Fogel Comments on Companies Denying Workers’ Compensation Benefits Due to COVID-19
Burg Simpson shareholder Nick Fogel, the Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Workers’ Compensation Department, was recently quoted in an article by Reuters about proving workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19. The article discusses the JBS USA’s slaughterhouse in Greeley, Colorado, and the company’s denial of a workers’ compensation claim filed by the family of a JBS employee who died due to complications of COVID-19. The family alleges that their loved one was exposed to the virus while on the job.
As more Americans return to their workplaces, this JBS employee’s passing due to COVID-19 shows the difficulty of linking infections to employment and obtaining compensation for medical costs and lost income. “That is the ultimate question,” said Burg Simpson shareholder Nick Fogel, “How can you prove it?”
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“Unfortunately, the Colorado workers’ compensation system places the burden of proof on the injured individual to prove that their injury is work-related. In cases involving COVID-19 exposure, this puts the JBS workers at a huge disadvantage. I sincerely hope that JBS does the right thing to resolve these cases in order to help these individuals and families. If not, the legislature needs to directly address the issue by creating a presumption for essential workers with COVID-19 related exposures. The legislation should mandate that if an essential worker contracts COVID-19, it would be presumed that the exposure is work-related.”
About Nick Fogel
Nick Fogel is the practice group leader of Burg Simpson’s workers’ compensation department, which has achieved Tier 1 status by US News and World Report (the highest-ranking available). His practice is devoted to those who have been injured while working on the job and in the line of duty. In this capacity, Nick has extensive courtroom experience handling a wide variety of matters.
Nick’s practice focuses on the representation of law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders who sustain injuries in the line of duty. He has represented law enforcement and first responders from departments across the state and has also handled medical retirement claims filed through the Fire Police Pension Association (FPPA). In 2017, Nick assisted in the passage of HB 1229, which changed the legal standard to allow for the admission of workers’ compensation benefits for first responders related to on-duty PTSD. He regularly gives seminars and presentations to law enforcement and first responder groups regarding workers’ compensation.
Nick has also been selected by the National Trial Lawyers Association for inclusion in The Top 40 under 40 Association and as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in Colorado. The selection is based on superior qualifications, leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile in the Trial Lawyer community. Nick has also been selected by The American Society of Legal Advocates as one of the Top 40 Litigation Lawyers under 40 in Colorado. Since 2012, Nick has been selected as a Colorado Super Lawyer Rising Star, a distinction limited to only the top 2.5 percent of qualifying lawyers in the state. Nick has also been selected to the Best Lawyers in America and as a Top Colorado Attorney by 5280 Magazine. Nick is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. An elite group of approximately 10 percent of all attorneys hold an AV Preeminent Rating.