Nearly 15,000 Workers Comp Claims Filed in California for COVID-19 Exposure Through June 30th

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect communities throughout the country. The California Department of Public Health reports that more than 525,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the state as of August 5th, 2020. Despite sanitizing efforts, the virus may be transmitted almost anywhere, including in the workplace

Recently, the California WorkersCompensation Institute (CWCI) released data on the coronavirus-related workers’ comp claims. The CWCI estimates that 14,470 COVID-19 claims were filed in the state as of June 30th. Here, our Fresno workers’ comp defense attorneys provide an overview of the data and discuss California’s unique rules and regulations for these cases. 

CWCI Data: An Overview of COVID-19 and WorkersCompensation in California

The California WorkersCompensation Institute put together comprehensive data on COVID-19 claims and non-COVID-19 claims. Among other things, the CWCI published an interactive map to make the data more accessible for the general public. One of the most notable details is that COVID-19 has affected workplaces across virtually the entire state. 

At least one coronavirus-related workers’ comp claim has been filed in virtually every county in California. On a population-adjusted basis, Imperial County has been the hardest hit, with 388 total COVID-19 claims. Several counties in the Central Valley have seen significant outbreaks: 350 COVID-19 claims were filed in Fresno County and 279 claims were filed in Tulare County. 

Notably, the impact of the virus has been largely concentrated in certain industries. Here are the top four industries with the most coronavirus-related workerscompensation claims as of June 30th: 

COVID-19 and California’s Rebuttable Presumption Standard: A State of Flux 

In May, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order creating a rebuttable presumption for COVID-19 workers’ comp claims. Under the temporary regulations, a worker diagnosed with COVID-19 during that period would be entitled to a presumption that the exposure occurred in the workplace. To be clear, an employer, insurer, or claims administrator could rebut that presumption

Notably, the Executive Order that created a rebuttable presumption only covered the period from March 19th to July 5th—meaning California’s COVID-19 rebuttable presumption has expired. That being said, the rule may still be codified into law, at least in some form. Currently, Senate Bill 1159 is being discussed in California’s state legislature. Our law firm will closely monitor the developments to best serve our clients.