Tom Murphy, awarded Montana injury lawyer and founder of Murphy Law Firm, recently made a guest appearance on Alabama Work Comp Today, hosted by Bernard and David Nomberg of The Nomberg Law Firm, to discuss current events and national stories affecting hard-working Americans.
Every month, the show dives into current events and news surrounding employment and workers’ compensation law. This month, Tom had the honor (and fun) of weighing in on COVID-19.
You can watch the full video interview here, or continue reading for the highlights:
What it’s like in Montana
Tom started off by explaining that limited exposure means it’s more difficult to get benefits in Montana if a worker contracts COVID-19 in the workplace. Doctors and nurses aren’t protected because the presumption that they caught the virus on the job doesn’t exist.
In order to receive benefits, it falls to the workers to prove that the virus was contracted at work. There were only 1,000 active cases in Montana at the time of the interview, and only 35 in the county where Murphy Law Office is located. Now, of course, those numbers are much higher.
Tom has handled 1 COVID-19 case so far.
Tom and the Nombergs also discussed a recent REI case that has made national news.
Recreational Equipment, Inc. is a popular outdoor retail chain that carries gear, apparel and footwear for various outdoor and fitness activities. The company recently came under fire when an employee’s report of COVID-19 was ignored by management.
Tom highlighted another underlying issue that the store now faces—namely:
How are they supposed to respond? What are they supposed to do now that they know one of their employees has COVID? Are they supposed to close down?
These and other questions remain unanswered among many businesses, which Tom feels should be addressed.
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As Tom says in the interview:
“My practice is to take care of injured workers.”
Any employer who gets in the way of that means it’s time for Tom and his team to step in.
Tom also asked the question:
“What does it mean to have a safe place to work during the pandemic? The guiding principle for us is we want to help injured workers continue working and to find a way to provide for their families.”
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Tom also discussed the scenario of a plant worker who died of COVID-19 and the company now faces a wrongful death claim. While there hadn’t been any such cases filed in Montana at the time of the interview, Tom emphasized the severity of the situation and stated that there were 3,500 state and federal complaints pending.
In addition, OSHA had 6,700 complaints at the time regarding COVID-19 alone, which is a big deal—even if there aren’t any in Montana.
“Providing a safe place to work is what our state wants Montana lawyers to do.”
If that means helping workers who contract COVID-19, Tom and his team want to step up.
If you or a loved one contracted an illness or were injured at work in Montana, don’t hesitate to learn more about your rights. You might be surprised by how Tom Murphy and his team can help.