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Legal Impact of Coronavirus on Workers' Compensation Law

March 18, 2020

The Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency and the Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates suspended all in-person hearings effective March 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. through April 20, 2020. All control dates will be handled telephonically with the agency and opposing counsel. Redemptions may be handled remotely via teleconference. Redemptions will need to be pre-arranged with the presiding magistrate. We also have the option to conduct facilitations by teleconference in the event the opposing party agrees. In-person redemptions and "necessary" trials will be scheduled only after consultation with the magistrate and at the magistrate's sole discretion. We anticipate that these will be few and far between.

We are working around the clock and available 24/7 to address your concerns and assist you with finding solutions to the unique issues created by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We anticipate you may soon be receiving workers’ compensation claims by individuals who allege they contracted the Coronavirus during work activities. We welcome the opportunity to work with you on the various legal and factual issues that will arise, as well as any collateral employment-related concerns.

Foster Swift’s offices are currently open and we are following best practices as provided by the Centers for Disease Control. However, should it become necessary to close our offices, our attorneys and staff are equipped and trained to provide you with uninterrupted “virtual” assistance.   

If your business or your insureds are facing potential legal issues beyond the scope of the workers' compensation issues with which we typically assist you, please know we have established a cross-disciplinary Coronavirus Task Force. Members of this task force are already helping our clients assess and address business and operational issues presented by the virus. We strongly encourage you to contact us and we will put you in touch with the appropriate attorney to address your needs.

The virus and public concern are escalating rapidly; prompt analysis by experienced legal counsel can help you minimize risk and attain the best outcome possible.  

On a related note, while there is no shortage of information provided by mainstream media, the resources below may be useful as you follow coverage related to the virus. We are constantly monitoring this situation and the impact it has on workers' compensation claims and any employment related issues. We will continue to update you on all relevant changes.

In this regard, we will be sending you a special edition of our Workers’ Compensation Newsletter later this week. If you have any questions in the meantime, please call upon any member of our Workers’ Compensation Practice Group:

Alicia Birach 248-785-4172
Mike Cassar 517-371-8110
Brian Goodenough
(Practice Group Leader)
Tyler Olney 248-538-6352
Mike Sanders 517-371-8210

Reliable news information sources regarding Coronavirus:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services

For the latest news, please visit "Press Releases" and "Resources."

U.S. Government Guidelines:

White Paper from U.S. Veterans Affairs
EEOC Guidelines – Pandemic Preparedness
Pandemic EEOC and ADA FAQs

Foster Swift Articles:

Coronavirus Task Force Services
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in the Families First Corona Virus Response Act
COVID-19 Legal Issues for Employers
FAQs from Employers
How Does the Coronavirus Impact Your Contracts
International Trade and COVID-19







Grand Rapids






St Joseph


Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC E-Newsletters are intended for general information for our clients and friends. This newsletter highlights specific areas of law and is not legal advice. The reader should consult an attorney to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

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