The COVID-19 a pandemic has significantly altered the way that people in the United States and throughout California live their daily lives. While there were hopes that the pandemic was ending and that we were “flattening the curve,” the reality is that this pandemic is still upon us and will be for some time. As the rates of infection in California continued to increase, there have been thousands of workers in this state who have filed for workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19.
On May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsome signed an executive order that significantly altered the way workers’ compensation will be handled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Newsom’s executive order extended protections for employees who contracted the infection on or after March 19, which is the day that California lockdown orders began. The executive order presumes that any essential worker (medical professionals, first responders, farmworkers, grocery workers, etc.) who contracted COVID-19 were infected on the job. This places the onus on the employer to prove otherwise.
In order to be eligible for these benefits, a worker will have needed to test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of performing a labor or service on the job.
This is significantly different than the way viruses and other illnesses are treated in the workers’ compensation system in California. Traditionally, when a worker contracts an illness that is widely spread throughout the public, such as influenza, they are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Since this is active order went into place, thousands of workers have filed for COVID-19 workers’ compensation benefits.
The only bright spot of this pandemic concerning work injuries is a dramatic reduction of just about every other type of work injury claim. According to the state workers’ compensation system, the overall number of claims plummeted during the state’s lockdown. There were only 1,098 total workers’ compensation claims made in May, compared to more than 50,000 claims made in January.
As the economy in California has gradually begun to open, we have seen that this pandemic is going to remain with us. Cases of COVID-19 continued to rise across the state and in many other states across the US.
If you or somebody you love has contracted COVID-19 while at work in California, you may need to seek assistance from an attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach, we are dedicated to helping workers who become injured or ill on the job obtain the compensation they need. For COVID-19 cases, this can include:
We are not afraid to stand up to aggressive workers’ compensation insurance carriers or employers. When you need a Los Angeles COVID-19 workers compensation attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 818-609-7005.