Call for a FREE Consultation: (209) 323-5126Hablamos Espanol • Мы говорим по-русски
Call for a FREE Consultation: (209) 323-5126 Hablamos Espanol • Мы говорим по-русски

Call for a FREE Consultation: (209) 323-5126
Hablamos Espanol • Мы говорим по-русски

California Workers’ Compensation System Potentially to Undergo Radical Changes as a Result of the Covid Pandemic

California’s workers’ compensation system has undergone some new changes because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, employers in California had agreed to compensate their employees with medical care and cash payments for work-related injuries and illnesses. This system allowed the employer protection from individual litigations. Predating the pandemic, employers obtained insurance or self-insured to cover potential liabilities. Additionally, certain classifications of workers like firefighters and police officers are granted a particular presumption that allows them the benefit of the doubt if they happen to contract an illness or injury, that these ailments are presumed to be work-related. 

Changes due to Covid-19

California Workers Compensation System Potentially to Undergo Radical Changes as a Result of the Covid PandemicWorkers’ compensation law has changed slightly over the years since its implementation. However, no one phenomenon has made such a drastic impact on the workers’ compensation process as Covid. Last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom passed new workers’ compensation legislation that allows workers who contracted Covid-19 the emergency presumption that their illness was work-related. However, now that same legislation only applies to high-risk workers determined to be workers with a high risk of contracting covid while on the job and workplaces with a recorded outbreak of COVID-19. These High-Risk Workers Include Emergency medical employees, direct healthcare providers, providers for in-home geriatric and supportive care, custodians at healthcare facilities who may have contact with Covid and other healthcare facility employees. This change in legislation is a significant shift in the application procedure for workers’ compensation. Whereas workers originally had to prove that an acquired injury or illness was work-related. 

Recent Important Litigation Case

In a recent lawsuit, Matilde Ek, an employee for See’s Candy distribution in Los Angeles, contracted Covid-19 while on the job and supposedly infected her husband. Matilde’s husband, 72-year-old Arturo, later died from Covid. Matilde and her daughter are now suing See’s Candy for the death of her husband. Ek claims that See’s Candy distribution center did not enforce social distancing. Many employees were coughing and sneezing or showing some other signs or symptoms of possible covid infection. Ek and her daughters Sued See’s Candy for the lack of preventive and social distancing measures. They are claiming that the company is liable for Arturo’s death. 

Importance of This Case

See’s candy has acknowledged that Matilde’s contraction of covid was work-related. However, they claim they are exempt from liability for her husband’s death under the “exclusive remedy.” Los Angeles superior court Judge Daniel M. Crowley threw out Ek’s case, stating that Ek’s contraction of covid and the death of her husband were two separate events. This ruling has sent this case to the appellate courts, which has gathered significant support from labor organizations across the country. Suppose this case’s trial ruling is sustained. This ruling could mean that the core workers’ compensation law principles could be undermined and potentially subject every employer in California to unlimited tort liability for work-related injuries, illnesses, and even death. 

While the struggle of Matilde Ek’s case is unfortunate, Ek has received overwhelming support from labor organizations across the country. The results of her appellate trial could potentially have groundbreaking effects on the already established workers’ compensation system. Our attorneys at Stockton workers’ Compensation, P.C. are monitoring this case closely and are ready to take on this new opportunity. To help working families struggling from the pandemic to obtain the legal compensation they deserve. Suppose you have been injured at work or have contracted a work-related illness. In that case, you should seek help from our qualified workers’ compensation attorneys in Stockton. Our team will fight on your behalf to obtain the legal compensation you deserve. Visit our website or give us a call to schedule your FREE no-obligation consultation today.