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What you need to know about eligibility for benefits during the pandemic

California Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19

Across California, millions of people are working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But many others have no choice but to go to work at their regular job site. Essential workers are exempt from the governor’s shelter-in-place order. First responders, health care workers, sanitation employees and grocery store workers are just some of the people who must go into work during this time.

For many essential workers, contracting coronavirus is an unfortunate possibility with their job — particularly those positions that require interacting with the public. So what happens if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 as a result of your job? Or what happens if you are stressed from having to work in the face of the pandemic?

According to a California workers’ compensation attorney, a person who suffers job-related illnesses and injuries can make a claim for workers’ comp. Under the California workers’ compensation system, an individual does not need to prove that their employer was negligent or otherwise at fault for the illness or injury. If an employee can prove that their stress, illness or injury is work-related, then they will qualify for a range of benefits, including temporary or permanent payments for lost income and medical treatment.

If you have contracted coronavirus as a result of your work or are stressed, the first step that you must take is filing a report with your employer. The company must then process your claim with its insurance company and refer you out for medical care. From there, the insurance company will accept, reject or deny the claim. The insurance company has the burden to prove it was not work related and that is why having an attorney is even more important. A skilled California workers’ compensation attorney can advocate for you throughout this process, including filing an appeal of a denied claim.

One of the challenges of filing a workers’ compensation claim for coronavirus is that it may be difficult to prove that you contracted it on the job. After all, this virus is highly contagious, and it is possible to catch it in any number of ways. For example, you may be exposed when picking up groceries. It can also be difficult to trace exactly how you came into contact with the disease. A seasoned lawyer can argue that if you work in a public-facing position, then the most likely cause of infection was your job.

Recently, the largest workers’ compensation insurance company in California — the State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund) lifted the requirement that essential workers to prove that they contracted COVID-19 on the job. If other insurers follow suit, then getting coverage for coronavirus through the workers’ compensation system will become a much simpler process.

While having a job during a period of increasing unemployment claims is a good thing, if you have to interact with the public or go to a physical job site, it can be scary. Fortunately, the workers’ compensation system exists to ensure that employees who are injured or become ill on the job receive the benefits that they need to get healthy and to avoid financial strain. If you have contracted coronavirus at work, you can file a claim for benefits — and depending on your employer’s insurer, you may not need to prove that you got the virus at work.

At PLBH, we are dedicated to helping people who are have suffered on-the-job illnesses and injuries. We work hard to help you get the benefits that you are entitled to under the law. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a California workers’ compensation attorney, contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or