April 20, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, and in some areas becomes worse, many employees are wondering whether or not they will receive workers’ compensation benefits if they contract the virus. This is a vitally important question to ask and have answered, particularly as stay at home orders are eased, and the economy begins to reopen. At JML Law, our Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorneys want to discuss these claims and the changes that have been made to laws over the last month.

Workers’ compensation and viruses

Thousands of workers that are considered “essential” have continued to perform their jobs each day across the state of California throughout the entirety of this ongoing pandemic. However, these workers also face a significant risk of contracting COVID-19.

Before this global health crisis occurred, there was always a risk that someone will get sick at work. However, the policies are typically written so that an employee will receive benefits only for an illness “arising out of and occurring in the course of their employment.” It is not always easy to determine whether or not an illness was contracted at work, particularly when an employee contracts a virus that is so widespread in the general population. Previously, employers and insurance carriers have been able to deny claims for things like the flu because it is often hard to prove where the employee contracted the virus.

However, legislators and governors across this country have been making changes to state workers’ compensation laws.

On May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order making it easier for employees to prove that they contracted COVID-19 in the workplace. This executive order was designed to help make it easier for workers to get the benefits they deserve. The order changes all existing California workers’ compensation policies by allowing COVID-19-related illnesses of employees who worked outside of their home from the period ranging from March 19 through July 5, 2020 to have a presumption that the virus arose “out of and in the course of the employment.”

In essence, the California Governor has changed the burden of proof in these situations, so that COVID-19 cases are presumed to be covered for essential workers. This should provide comfort to essential workers and their family members as they risk their health and safety each day to ensure that our state’s economy continues to operate.

Should you speak to an attorney about California COVID-19 workers’ comp benefits?

If you or somebody you care about has contracted COVID-19 while operating within the scope of work duties, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Despite the awareness of this issue and laws orders in California, workers may still have a hard time obtaining the benefits they deserve. Let the Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorneys at JML Law Lawget to work investigating your case today. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 818-610-8800.