Long COVID Cited in a Significant Factor of Workers’ Compensation Claims in California

On December 27, 2023, Business Insurance reported that long COVID issues now make up a significant share of workers’ compensation claims in California. A recent study found that around six percent of all workers who filed a COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claim in the state have subsequently gone on to develop long COVID. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense lawyer highlights the key things you should know about the report on long COVID and workers’ compensation in California.

Background: What is Long COVID?

Also referred to as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), “long COVID” is a still-not-fully-understood medical condition whereby people continue to experience symptoms after recovering from the initial COVID-19 illness. These symptoms can last for weeks or even months and vary greatly from person to person. Unfortunately, long COVID has the potential to be debilitating. Some of the symptoms reported by patients include:

  • Fatigue;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Chest pain;
  • Joint pain; and
  • Brain fog,

Study Finds 1 in 17 COVID Workers’ Compensation Claims Developed Long COVID

How common is long COVID? The answer is that medical researchers still do not have a solid answer to this question. It is a difficult-to-diagnose condition, and it can easily be confused with other illnesses, potentially even psychosomatic issues. At the same time, we do have some new evidence on long COVID from the California workers’ compensation data.

While the effects of long COVID are still not well-known, a recent study of California workers’ compensation claims provides some insight. The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that 6% of workers who filed a COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim in California eventually developed long COVID. For reference, that is approximately 1 in 17 claimants who had COVID.

It is a big issue for the workers, as long COVID can lead to substantial medical costs and extended disability benefits. On average, these people—the ones who had long COVID—required more than 20 weeks of benefits and $29,000.00 in medical care. Notably, In California, in 2021 and 2022, an estimated 15% of all workers’ compensation claims were COVID-19 claims.

COVID-19 Remains a Workers’ Compensation Issue in California

Although the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to fall, it remains an issue in workers’ compensation claims in California. Beyond long COVID cases, there are still workers being made ill by COVID-19 that had a workplace cause. California no longer has a workplace COVID-19 presumption, but an employee can still get workers’ compensation benefits for a COVID-19-related illness if they can establish a workplace cause.

Contact Our Fresno Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer Today

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys are firmly committed to providing the absolute highest level of personalized, results-focused legal guidance and support to clients. Reach out to us by phone or contact us online for a completely private case review. We have a law office in Fresno, and we provide workers’ compensation defense representation across the area.