For a limited period of time California employees diagnosed with Covid-19 are presumed to have transmitted the virus while at work if they were on work premises within 14 days of being diagnosed. There is a rebuttal presumption that California employees diagnosed with the coronavirus between March 19, 2020 and July 5, 2020 contracted the disease on the premises of their employer or a non-home location they had to go to for work such as a customer’s site, or a the home of a patient.
May 6, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20. This emergency law means an employee's Coronavirus related illness is presumed to have arisen out of and in the course of the employment for purposes of awarding workers' compensation benefits. Benefits under this law include all benefits applicable under the workers’ compensation laws of California including:
• Full hospital, surgical, medical treatment
• Disability indemnity
• Death benefits
• Short term and long term disability under the workers compensation system.
If you believe you got Infected with the Coroavirus at Work Call 661-412-9600 to Speak to an Experienced Employee Rights Lawyer to Determine what Actions you should take against Your Employer. Workers Compensation Benefits may not be your Only Remedy.
The special California law about becoming infected with Covid-19 at work, which makes employers have to rebut the presumption the employee was infected with the Coronavirus at work, comes into play if:
1. On or after March 19, 2020 the employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the employee performed labor or services at the employee's place of employment in California that was not the employee’s home at the employer's direction;
2. A doctor made the diagnosis of COVID-19 and it was confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.
This new workers compensation presumption of infection at work does not apply to employees who have been working at home, not entered their employer’s premises, or premises required by the employer. Recognizing that not all jobs occur at the employer’s place of business, issues are likely to come up about the extension of this law if the employer required the employer to go somewhere other than the employee’s home, and the employee became infected with the Coronavirus. For example, if an employee was forced to come onto a customer’s premises to pickup their tools a competent employee injury lawyer will argue the relaxed standard of proof should apply.
Regardless of whether there is a relaxed standard, employees have a right to seek workers compensation benefits if they believe they got infected with a disease at work, or they are overly stressed out because others in their workplace did and they are worried they might be infected too. This is not limited to Coronavirus issues.
The California Governor’s Executive Order about it being presumed that Covid-19 was contracted at work, until July 5, 2020, can be rebutted by the employer with evidence. If it is not rebutted it is presumed the infection occurred at work, and the employee should enjoy the benefits of the workers compensation system which provides many different types of monetary compensation to the employee.
Even if an employer tries to rebut the presumption the employee became infected with Covid-19 at home, this does not mean the employer will win. It merely means the employee’s claim about how they were exposed might be disputed by the employer. In the California workers compensation system employers always have the right to dispute that the work injury was caused by the workplace. An experienced workers compensation lawyer will present evidence and arguments aimed at proving the employee was infected at work. In other types of work injury cases, employers often dispute the claim, and it is the workers compensation attorney’s job to prove the case as lawyers do in other areas of the law.
It remains to be seen whether employers and workers compensation insurance companies will save their efforts for things other than disputing that an employee became infected with the Coronavirus at work. Others may try to rebut the presumption by claiming the employee became infected in their community outside of the workplace. The employer will have 30 days to dispute the claim. This is shorter than the normal period of time an employer has to dispute a work injury claim. Whether employers will have enough evidence to prove the employee became infected by general community spread is unclear. This is why many of the disputed workers compensation claims will probably settle before trial.
CALL 1-661-412-9600 TO START A CLAIM AGAINST YOUR EMPLOYER BECAUSE YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH COVID-19 IN THE CALIFORNIA WORKPLACE
The California Governor’s executive order creates a presumption employees diagnosed with Covid-19 March 19, 2020 until July 5, 2020 were infected at work if the employee was reporting into the workplace within a 14 day before of their diagnosis. This special law is set to expire. The expiration of this law does not mean you cannot file a claim after July 5, 2020. It merely means you had to be diagnosed with the Coronavirus in California between March 19, 2020 and July 5, 2020 for the presumption to exist that you became infected at work. It is presently unknown whether the governor will extend this law.
Employees who were forced to work with infected employees may be able to file work stress cases [link to a case about work stress] even if they were not infected. Job terminations due to complaints about a lack of safety equipment, or required work during the Covid-19 epidemic may also lead to wrongful termination cases [link to a wrongful termination page]. We look forward to talking to employees who think they came into contact with the Coronavirus while working.
Workers compensation claims for COVID-19-related illnesses are eligible for Employees are strongly encouraged to obtain a workers compensation attorney. Merely because a claim is not denied by the employer does not mean the workers compensation insurance company will not try to take advantage of the employee in negotiations and lowball them. Without an experienced workers compensation law firm behind the employee, it is exceedingly likely long delays will occur in payment if they are able to go about the workers compensation process themselves which is unlikely.
More than 10% of all Coronavirus infections are by healthcare workers. It is important that healthcare workers utilize their rights to receive compensation because they came down with Covid-19 at work. It is possible to obtain benefits if you have already recovered. There is a rebuttal presumption you came down with Covid-19 if you were diagnosed within 14 days of being on your employer’s work premises, or the premises of a patient.
Our law firm has experience with cases against Adventist Health, Mercy Hospital/Dignity Health, Kern Medical, Good Samaritan, and Kaiser. We have represented many healthcare workers at these facilities including doctors, nurses, psyche-care workers, social workers, and office workers. We have also represented healthcare workers at smaller facilities and individual offices of doctors, dentists, and eye care professionals.
It is not necessary to have face-to-face consultation during the Coronavirus. Our office is capable of starting your case with you online and helping you get to the right doctors some who will provide virtual consultations.
CALL 661-412-9600 WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU START YOUR CORONAVIRUS WORKERS COMPENSATION CASE