The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across this country, and this unprecedented health crisis has led to more than 95,000 total fatalities in the US so far, and this number continues to climb daily. While a stay at home orders helped slow the spread of the coronavirus, many women and men have still been on the front lines in their essential jobs. Those who contract COVID-19 while performing their work duties deserve to have coverage through workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, insurance companies are already coming up with strategies so employers can avoid responsibility for COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.
Admittedly, it is not as easy to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for illnesses that an employment contract in which the general public also has a high risk of exposure. This is because it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when the worker was exposed. However, workers in Los Angeles may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if their job has placed them at a higher risk than the general public for exposure to COVID-19. Those who have been deemed essential workers, particularly nurses, hospital orderlies, EMTs, and pharmacists, are all good examples of those who may face a higher risk of exposure.
However, what about those who are not frontline medical workers? Are these employees also potentially entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? Yes, other essential workers could potentially receive workers’ comp coverage if they contract COVID-19.
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently created a time-limited rebuttal presumption that allows essential workers to access workers’ compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19. For essential workers who were on the job after a stay-at-home order went into effect, they will be able to access workers’ comp benefits if they contract COVID-19 within 14 days are performing a service or labor at their place of business. These workers will not have to prove that they were exposed to the virus at work.
Gov. Newsom’s order will be in place for 60 days, beginning May 6.
Right now, the order from the governor covers only essential workers. However, as the economy begins to reopen, employers must take special care to ensure that their employees do not face unreasonable risks of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. If employers fail to properly protect their workers, they could be held liable in the event a worker becomes ill or dies due to contracting this dangerous coronavirus.
If you or somebody you care about has contracted COVID-19, and you believe the exposure happened in the workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, insurers may fight your claim. At JML Law, our skilled and experienced team is going to investigate your case and work to secure any compensation you are entitled to. This includes coverage for your medical bills, lost wages, as well as any temporary or permanent disability benefits you are owed. You can contact our Los Angeles workers compensation attorneys for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 818-610-8800.