Workers' Compensation

Voice from the Chair

By Jack Goodchild

The saga continues. We are still in the Covid-19 world. Like a story that goes on for too long it is wearing on all of us and all of our institutions. Our system continues to do the best it can to deal with the challenges we and our clients face in these strange times. Nearly 600,000 Americans have died. Businesses have taken a severe toll as have employees. We are all very tired of the isolation and stressors brought about by this continuing situation. 

Still there are signs of hope, but we must remain vigilant. Vaccines have begun to dramatically reduce spread and we have been told that herd immunity is further along than previously believed due to a higher percentage of our population having been previously infected with the virus. On the other hand, multiple variants of the virus are also spreading, and it’s still not a 100% certainty whether vaccines will be able to prevent their spread as well. Although the CDC recently updated its guidelines that vaccinated people can, in general, no longer need wear facemasks. All in all, a very confusing and overwhelming situation that continues.

We, as a community and as participants in a benefit delivery system are confronted with the fact that this situation is likely to continue in some form for additional time. We will need to continue our efforts to compensate for the inability to deal with one another in person as opposed to our present electronic methodology.  We will need to continue to adapt to this new reality.

While this situation places additional strains upon us and our clients, we must continue to adhere to our responsibility to our respective clients and to the court system in which we practice.

Our system administrators and Judges are also under stress and strain due to the circumstances that prevail. While it is easy to complain and to criticize, I believe that we owe a great deal of thanks and appreciation to them. We are, I think, very fortunate to have a system that has risen to the occasion due to the efforts of the Judges and administrators who have quickly adapted to the circumstances we all face. Our system, is, by and large continuing to function fairly completely. This cannot be said about the civil and criminal courts which have still to fully deal with the present situation.

So, as always, our cup is half full and we are thankful for the blessings that we do have. Vaccination rates are stepping up. Hospitalizations are going down. Our government finally seems to be rising to the occasion. As I write this, my wife and I are two days from receiving our second vaccine dose. I can finally think about reasonably returning to my office after working from home for almost a year. Hopefully some relief will come to all of us in the coming months.

Times of challenge also present opportunities. These opportunities include being able to use the lessons we learn to prepare for future challenges and for introspection and re-evaluation of the choices we have made in the past. While stressful, I believe that there is a potentially profound upside to honest introspection and self-evaluation. Perhaps we will be able to come out of this period of time in a stronger and healthier state of being both individually and as a system. That is my hope and prayer.

As always, please remember that this is your committee. We exist to serve the community and rely not only on our committee members but in fact upon our entire community to contribute and participate in the education, publications, community outreach and other activities which we perform throughout the year. We also invite you to apply for membership in the committee. The applications are online on our website. We thank you for all that you have done I the past and invite your ongoing participation. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime.

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