EDISON, N.J., April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Richard Marcolus isn't your average workers' compensation attorney; and that isn't because he's a Certified Workers' Compensation Specialist by the New Jersey Supreme Court. He's a former Union Carpenter, and current Union Member, who knows what it's like to sacrifice your body and produce essential work that benefits others.
Marcolus' humble beginnings in carpentry spurned an interest in helping fellow workers he saw struggling to navigate the unfamiliar and often inflexible process of obtaining benefits following work-related injuries and illnesses. He's parlayed that passion into a career as a respected attorney representing his working brethren, and a role as Partner at Levinson Axelrod, one of New Jersey's largest and oldest law firms.
Though Marcolus has earned national recognition for his work, his efforts lobbying for legislation that safeguards workers, and clears the path to compensation during times of need, is what speaks volumes about his unvarnished zeal for helping workers when they need it most.
Fortuitous First Responders Act Covers COVID-19
Among his many advocacy efforts, Marcolus has been an integral part of the Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act (Assembly, No. 1741), a law named after a Hackensack Deputy Chief Firefighter who passed away from a heart condition medical experts linked to toxic exposure sustained while working in the cleanup of Ground Zero following 9/11.
For Marcolus, cases like Canzanella's exposed glaring omissions in New Jersey's workers' compensation system – firefighters, law enforcement, and other first responders lacked protections and legal options when they suffered harms from workplace exposure.
After nearly two decades of lobbying efforts, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Canzanella Bill into law in July 2019. It provides First Responders with an easier path to benefits when they acquire certain medical conditions as a result of exposure to toxins, carcinogens, and other related hazards in the workplace.
According to Marcolus, that also includes exposure during a pandemic.
The passing of the Canzanella Bill after nearly 20 years is fortuitous at a time when front line workers face tremendous risks providing essential services. Under the law:
- First responders who contract medical conditions due to occupational exposure – including COVID-19 from exposure to the novel coronavirus – would benefit from a legal presumption that the condition and exposure are work-related.
- First responders who contract COVID-19 would be eligible for benefits, including medical treatment and temporary disability compensation while they are unable to work.
Marcolus is now working to expand the definition of "first responders" in light of "essential workers" who face elevated risks of exposure during the pandemic. While new legislation is in the works, some who aren't "first responders" – including nurses, home health aides, and test-site workers – may still potentially be able to collect workers' compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 from their jobs.
You can read more about Marcolus' work and advocacy efforts here.
Richard J. Marcolus is Partner at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. and a New Jersey Supreme Court Board-Certified Expert in Workers' Compensation Law. In addition to helping workers and families recover millions in benefits, Marcolus has championed workers' rights for decades, drafting and backing legislations such as the Voluntary Tender Bill, Hand and Foot Bill, Special Adjustment Bill, Collection Practices Bill, and others. Visit www.njlawyers.com to learn more.
SOURCE Levinson Axelrod, P.A.