COVID-19 and California Workers’ Compensation

Published On: March 29th, 2020|By |

Contract COVID-19 On The Job, And You May Be Entitled To California Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic is a challenging crisis. Our thoughts are with all of the frontline workers, laid off or furloughed workers, and their families. Throughout these difficult circumstances, we remain committed to helping ALL workers obtain the best results. The law firm of Ford & Wallach is open as an “essential business” provider under the social service and professional service exceptions which are recognized by California governor, Gavin Newsom; Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti; and Ford & Wallach’s collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 986 union.

COVID-19 And Workers’ Compensation.
A New Frontier…

Ford & Wallach is proud to fight to obtain workers’ compensation (“WC”) benefits for workers in response to COVID-19. It is important to know that your rights to California workers’ compensation benefits are enshrined in the state of California’s constitution. Under the WC system, you may be entitled to 5 main WC benefits for your injury or illness that includes:

1. Medical treatment.
2. Temporary disability (“TD”) for time lost from work.
3. Permanent disability (“PD”) for a lifelong disability or impairment.
4. A supplemental job displacement benefit voucher (“SJDBV”) if you are unable to return to work to your pre-injury job due to your medical condition.
5. Death benefits for your financial dependent(s) in the event you pass away because of a work-related injury or illness.

These workers’ compensation benefits do NOT expire just because of the existence of a crisis. Furthermore, the greatest need for worker advocacy and protection of workers’ rights to safety, monetary benefits, and medical care is in this time of hardship. Frontline workers that remain active as essential services are some of the most vulnerable and at-risk employees for exposure to COVID-19. These workers include but are not limited to first responders, nurses, doctors, hospital workers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, governmental employees, construction workers, warehouse workers, janitorial services, restaurant employees, mechanics, plumbers, transportation services, and social service providers that are helping our communities.

How will COVID-19 be treated within the CA workers’ compensation system?

COVID-19 is a novel (new) strain of coronavirus disease first identified in 2019. Because it is new, there is not yet a definitive statutory presumption or workers’ compensation case law specifically governing its infections. We expect that the workers’ compensation laws surrounding COVID-19 will be developing rapidly as workers contract the virus. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to pneumonia with fever, sore throat, coughing, and other respiratory complications. Because of this, we expect that COVID-19 may be treated similarly to pneumonia within the WC system. We are mindful that an illness like COVID-19 may impact, aggravate, and have compensable consequences that result in the development of other medical conditions. Other conditions can include psychological trauma, weakened immune systems, and more. In addition to WC benefits for COVID-19, you may be entitled to WC benefits for medical conditions caused by COVID-19.

I have questions and may need legal help…

Our team of workers’ compensation attorneys stand in solidarity with all workers. We are ready to fight for you to ensure that there is justice for workers battling COVID-19. Contact us by email or call 213.380.3140.

Read more about Ford & Wallach here.
Scott Ford, Managing Partner
Cheryl Wallach, Partner

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