According to a report from Business Insurance, workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19 are once again on the rise in California. The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) reports that COVID-19 workers’ comp claim increased by more than 500% over a two-month period this spring. More than 6,000 workers filed for COVID-19 workers’ comp benefits in the state in May of 2022 alone. It is an important reminder that COVID-19 remains a serious issue in workplaces in Fresno and throughout California. Here, our Fresno workers’ comp lawyer provides an overview of your rights and options if you contract COVID-19 in the workplace in California in 2022.
As a starting point, all workers in Fresno County should understand that COVID-19 can be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in California. If you contracted COVID-19 while on the job, you have the right to bring a workers’ compensation claim. All reasonable and necessary medical care for the job-related COVID-19 illness should be covered by workers’ comp insurance. If you are forced to miss more than three days at work, you can also seek temporary disability benefits.
Of course, the workplace is not the only location where people contract the COVID-19 virus. In California, a person is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for non-job COVID-19 exposure. The challenge that workers face is that they have to connect their COVID-19 diagnosis to their workplace. How difficult this will be depends on several factors, including a worker’s specific job. In 2020, California legislators passed Senate Bill 1159 which created special workers’ comp claims rules for COVID-19 exposure. Here are three things to know about the process:
- First Responders are Entitled to a Rebuttable Presumption: In California, all first responders—police officers, firefighters, EMTs, etc—are entitled to a rebuttable presumption that their COVID-19 exposure is work-related.
- Workers at Companies With an “Outbreak” are entitled to a Rebuttable Presumption: Workers at companies where there has been an outbreak in the workplace are also entitled to a rebuttable presumption that their outbreak is work-related.
- Other Workers Must Be Prepared to Provide Evidence of Job-Related Exposure: If a worker is not a first responder and there has been no workplace outbreak as defined by California law, then the worker must be ready to provide evidence that their COVID-19 exposure is job-related.
If you believe that you or your loved one contracted COVID-19 due to workplace exposure, an experienced Fresno, CA workers’ compensation attorney can help you recover the full and fair benefits that you deserve.
As an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney. Joseph C. Yrulegui is devoted to providing top-level guidance and support to clients. If you or your family developed COVID-19 while on the job, we can help you navigate the workers’ comp claims process. Contact us today for a fully confidential initial appointment. We represent workers throughout the San Joaquin Valley.