The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect communities throughout the country. The California Department of Public Health reports that more than 525,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the state as of August 5, 2020. Despite sanitizing efforts, the virus may be transmitted almost anywhere, including in the workplace.

Recently, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) released data on the coronavirus-related workers’ compensation claims. The CWCI estimates that 14,470 COVID-19 claims were filed in the state as of June 30, 2020. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys provide an overview of the data and discuss California’s unique rules and regulations for these cases.

CWCI Data: An Overview of COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation in California

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute put together comprehensive data on COVID-19 claims and non-COVID-19 claims. Among other things, the CWCI published an interactive map to make the data more accessible for the general public. One of the most notable details is that COVID-19 has affected workplaces across virtually the entire state.

At least one coronavirus-related workers’ compensation claim has been filed in virtually every county in California. On a population-adjusted basis, Imperial County has been the hardest hit, with 388 total COVID-19 claims. Several counties in the Central Valley have seen significant outbreaks: 350 COVID-19 claims were filed in Fresno County and 279 claims were filed in Tulare County.

Notably, the impact of the virus has been largely concentrated in certain industries. Here are the top four industries with the most coronavirus-related workers’ compensation claims as of June 30, 2020:

  • Health Care: 42.8% of COVID-related workers’ compensation claims.
  • Public Safety: 16.2% of COVID-related workers’ compensation claims.
  • Retail: 7.9% of COVID-related workers’ compensation claims.
  • Manufacturing: 5.4% of COVID-related workers’ compensation claims.

COVID-19 and California’s Rebuttable Presumption Standard: A State of Flux

In May, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order creating a rebuttable presumption for COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims. Under the temporary regulations, a worker diagnosed with COVID-19 during that period would be entitled to a presumption that the exposure occurred in the workplace. To be clear, an employer, insurer, or claims administrator could rebut that presumption.

Notably, the Executive Order that created a rebuttable presumption only covered the period from March 19, 2020 to July 5, 2020—meaning California’s COVID-19 rebuttable presumption has expired. That being said, the rule may still be codified into law, at least in some form. Currently, Senate Bill 1159 is being discussed in California’s state legislature. Our law firm will closely monitor the developments to best serve our clients.

Call Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyers for Help

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense attorneys provide expert, effective legal representation to clients. If you have questions about COVID-19 and workers’ compensation, we are here to help. For a strictly confidential, no commitment initial consultation, please contact our legal team right away. From our law offices in Fresno, Sacramento, and Bakersfield, we are well-positioned to represent clients all over California’s Central Valley.