Workers Compensation COVID-19 Update
California workers’ compensation COVID-19 claims continue to rise, with the state recording 5,130 COVID-19 claims with August injury dates. According to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI), this brings the total for the year to 41,861 claims, or 11.2% of all California job injury claims reported an accident in 2020. Death claims rose to 224, up from 160 reported as of August 10th.
Despite this horrible news, the increase is significantly lower than in previous months. The number of COVID-19 claims reported doubled from May to June, increased by 16% in July, but fell sharply for August. CWCI is projecting 48,086 COVID-19 claims with January through August injury dates, which is lower than the January through July projection from last month, according to an article by the Insurance Journal.
COVID-19 claims are highest among health care workers, accounting for 38.1% of claims filed for the first eight months of 2020. Public safety/government workers come in second, filing 15.8% of COVID-19 claims. Other industries with high COVID-19 claim volume include retail trade (7.6%), manufacturing (7.6%) and transportation (5.0%).
New Legislation Addressing Workers Compensation COVID-19 Claims
On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1159 into law, which includes the following measures, effective immediately for all employers:
- Codifies Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20 on a disputable presumption for all mandatory on-site workers for workers’ compensation COVID-19 cases between March 19, 2020 and July 5, 2020.
- Defines an “injury” under workers’ compensation to include illness or death from COVID-19
- Creates a “disputable presumption” for Essential Employees and employees working in locations that have had an outbreak, who become ill or die from COVID-19 on or after July 6, 2020, through January 1, 2023, as a result of employment
- Creates reporting requirements for employers to claims administrators
- Creates civil penalties for employers who fail to meet reporting requirements.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19 at your workplace and would like to learn more about you your potential workers’ rights, call us at 714-547-5025.