In January, State Senator Dave Cortese (D-Santa Clara County) and State Assembly member Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) introduced Senate Bill 213 (SB-213) in the California State Legislature. If passed into law, the bill would rewrite the state’s Labor Code to create a new “rebuttable presumption” that certain injuries, illnesses, and ailments that develop or manifest in many frontline hospital employees are work-related. In this article, our California workers’ compensation defense attorneys highlight the four key elements that you should know about proposed Senate Bill 213.

Senate Bill 213: A Proposed Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Frontline Hospital Employees

  1. Rebuttable Presumption: Certain Conditions are Assumed to be Work-Related

Workers’ compensation insurance offers no-fault benefits to employees injured in the course and scope of their employment. To claim workers’ compensation benefits, an employee must establish that their injury, illness, or medical impairment was caused by their job.

By creating a rebuttable presumption for certain hospital workers, SB 213 would assume causation for qualifying conditions. As it is a rebuttable presumption, an insurer/employer would retain the right to present evidence that proves that a hospital worker’s injury or illness was not work related.

  • Applies to Frontline Hospital Workers Who Provide Direct Care

As it is currently drafted, SB 213 applies to frontline hospital employees who provide direct care to patients in an acute care hospital. The single largest occupation that would fall under the bill is registered nurses (RNs). Many RNs work in jobs and facilities that would qualify them for a rebuttable prescription under SB 213.

  • Many Medical Conditions are Listed in the Legislation

Senate Bill 213 covers a wide range of different injuries, illnesses, and medical impairments. Among other things, the bill defines the following conditions as “injuries” that warrant a rebuttable presumption for frontline hospital employees:

  • Infectious diseases;
  • Respiratory diseases;
  • Several types of cancer;
  • Musculoskeletal injuries; and
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • The Bill Must Clear Several Hurdles to Become Law

SB 213 is still just proposed legislation. There are still a number of different steps that need to happen before the bill can become law. It must pass both houses of the California legislature and get the signature of the governor. Though, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have already been some changes to California’s workers’ compensation laws that grant certain employees a rebuttable presumption. At Yrulegui & Roberts, our workers’ compensation team will keep a close watch on all legal and legislative developments that could have an impact on the interests of our clients.

Get Help From a Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney in Central California

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyers are focused on providing honest, results-oriented representation. If you have any questions about your legal rights or legal obligations, we are here to help. Contact our lawyers today to arrange your completely confidential case evaluation. We provide legal services throughout the San Joaquin Valley, including in Fresno, Bakersfield, Clovis. Modesto, Stockton. and Visalia.