Family of First OKC Firefighter to Die From COVID Gets Lump-Sum Settlement
Friday, January 22, 2021 | 3301 | 0 | 324 min read
Oklahoma City officials this week cleared the way for workers' compensation benefits for the family of a firefighter who died from COVID-19, but the mayor said the move does not set a costly precedent for the city.
“In his particular case, we were able to document that he contracted the virus while on duty, so that's the major difference,” Mayor David Holt told an Oklahoma City television station Thursday.
Firefighter Andy Davis died in December, the first city employee lost to the coronavirus, and his family filed a claim for survivor benefits. The City Council agreed this week to a settlement that provides lump sums of $100,000 to Davis' wife and $50,000 to his children, according to news reports.
City officials did not say how it was determined that Davis caught the virus while responding to a call. A second fire employee has also died from the disease and at least 171 department employees have been diagnosed with it or have tested positive.
Oklahoma is not one of the states that have adopted a COVID-19 workers' comp presumption law or rule for frontline workers. First responders in some states without a presumption have urged lawmakers to make it easier for essential workers to qualify for benefits. But in Oklahoma, there's been little talk about a presumption measure.
“We may never know, in some cases, whether an employee contracted the virus ... in their official duties,” the mayor said Thursday.