The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the way Americans go to work. Right now, everyone who can work at home is working at home, and essential workers who are required to report to a work location are outfitted in personal protective equipment. But even with precautions in place, COVID-19 spreads rapidly through respiratory droplets, which means that contracting it in the workplace is very possible.
In May of 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that extended workers’ compensation benefits to essential workers who tested positive for COVID-19. The ruling assumed that essential workers who had been infected had contracted the disease at work. If the employer claimed otherwise, the burden of proof was put on them. For example, if a grocery store worker tested positive for COVID-19 and filed a workers’ compensation claim stating that they contracted the disease at work, the grocery store would have to prove that their worker contracted it elsewhere to legally deny the claim.
In May, roughly 4,700 COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims were filed. In June, that rose to 10,900 and in July, it spiked at more than 11,600 (source). These claims could represent more than $2 billion in costs for employers and insurance companies. In May, around 28% of these claims were denied, but the denial rate dropped to 20% in July.
We are living through unprecedented times. Handling workers’ compensation claims for essential workers is going to be challenging for everyone involved. COVID-19 is an insidious disease that is difficult to control, and the pandemic is far from over.
If you are an essential worker who contracted COVID-19 in the workplace, contact Grupo Via Dorada for assistance in filing a workers’ compensation case. We will work hard to help ensure that your claim goes through and that you receive the financial support you are entitled to. If you are infected, your number one priority should be a safe and speedy recovery. Get our legal team working for you so that you can focus on your health while we focus on your benefits. Don’t settle for anyone or anything less. Call today.