All California employers with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. An employee becomes eligible for workers’ compensation benefits when he or she is injured in the course of their employment. However, these rules do not just cover injuries. They also include occupational illnesses and cumulative traumas. If you suspect a work-related exposure or illness, you should file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer.
In this era of COVID-19, exposed employees may have valid claims for workers’ compensation benefits. For example, consider a nurse who is alleging that he or she was contaminated by the COVID-19 virus while working at a hospital caring for patients with varying degrees of COVID-19. He or she has been tested and is positive for the virus. Does he or she have a valid workers’ compensation claim?
There are two hurdles a worker must overcome. First, he or she is required to prove that the illness arose from causes that are characteristic of the trade or place of employment. Then, he or she must also prove that the nature of the work materially contributed to contracting and developing symptoms from the COVID-19 virus.