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California Workers Compensation – Covid 19 – Coronavirus

Does California Workers Compensation Cover Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Video Transcript:

I decided to put out a video on the COVID-19 epidemic because I’ve been getting phone calls about the workers compensation options for those who have gotten sick or may get sick.

For the most part I think it’s going to be one of those things that’s going to be very difficult from a worker’s compensation perspective to prove that you obtained the virus through work though obviously it’s going to be fact by fact basis and those who are in the healthcare industry are going to have potentially a presumption, maybe not a legal presumption, but one that could be argued – a presumption that the illness occurred at work.

That is the first threshold in which we have to analyze whether getting the virus is even work related before we can get to whether there are any benefits that would come from the illness.

Hopefully it’s one of those situations for you in which the illness passes quickly and maybe you’ll have some time missed from work. The question then becomes are you missing work because work has been shut down and we’ve been told to stay home, or is it because of the illness.

Benefits can be obtained and there’s a lot of information online and I’m going to put on our website some information that was provided by the state of California to provide benefits during this time that we’re staying home and it will depend on if you’re staying home because you’ve been let go. Benefits will be determined based upon whether you a full time employee or part time employee and those benefits are in flux as we speak, but I’ll be posting some information on my website and some links so that you can access unemployment state disability insurance, look at some information about paid sick leave, paid family leave, and while that’s outside of the workers compensation speciality, and I cannot advise on those things, I think the information will be helpful and there’s other information online to seek benefits.

Another potential aspect of the claim for healthcare workers could be psychological in nature. Now we’re hearing stories of healthcare workers going to work, being overwhelmed by the number of people coming through, not having the protections that they need to do their job and to stay safe themselves. Obviously this is kind of outside the standard stressors that a healthcare worker is going through on a daily basis and I think we’re going to see healthcare workers at least not doing their jobs and their fighting through it and it’s been painful to see some of them, you know, online and going to the newspapers with how bad it is at the locations their working at. But, when they get through this and we get to the other side or even during this epidemic, I think we’re going to see some psychological claims that come from it. And again, the thresholds will have to be met not only in regards to it being work related but other thresholds that were instituted after 2013 dates of injury and again I think we’ll probably see more of those types of claims than potential permanent physical harm due to the coronavirus itself.

Now, God forbid that the virus leads to a death for someone you know, then again, analyzing the benefits through the work comp system would first determine if it’s work related – being able to prove or at least having a doctor say within reasonable medical probability that the virus was contracted in a work environment before getting to whether there’s potential death benefits.

If you have further questions and want to contact our office, please do so.

Let us put you at ease.

At Gorelick Wolfert, P.C we relieve you of the burden of trying to handle your own case in this complicated system.

We are here to fight for you against insurance companies but also to counsel you through this difficult time.

(510) 272-0300