COVID-19 Cited in More Than 10% of California Workers’ Comp Claims

Woman with mask and tablet

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) has announced that workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19 have taken up a significant portion of all filings. The coronavirus has made such an impact on the workforce that 11.2% of all workers’ comp claims filed in 2020 cited COVID-19 as the claimant’s illness. There were more than 5,100 COVID-illness claims filed in August alone, with several hundred of those claims citing a worker’s death caused by the deadly virus.

The largest spike in coronavirus-related workers’ compensation claims so far was in June, which saw twice the amount of similar filings than May did. July also went up nearly 20% from that new high point. August, though, has seen a welcome decrease. It is believed that after the summer scare of COVID-19 case increases due to people breaking social distancing requirements for recreation led to an overall increase in virus safety compliance in California.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s handling of the virus outbreak has also been attributed to the drop in cases by some. He has been criticized for being overly strict by some, such as when he recently announced that anyone eating at restaurants should “wear a mask in between bites.” But others have applauded his efforts or even said he could be doing more to enforce mask policies. In any case, the drop in COVID-19 workers’ compensation filings is expected to drop or stay steady for September by the CWCI.

What Industry Faces the Biggest Risk?

Based on CWCI data, healthcare workers and medical professionals are clearly at the greatest risk of contracting the virus in the workplace. Nearly 40% of all coronavirus-related workers’ comp claims filed in California so far have been from workers in these industries. Industries that employ government workers and public safety officials, such as post office staff and law enforcement officers, are the second-most impacted by the coronavirus. About 15% of related claims have been filed by professionals from such fields.

What might come as a shock to some, retail workers are the third most-likely to file a COVID-19 illness claim, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. Almost 8% of all filed claims tracked by the group were by retail workers, like cashiers, clerks, and sales assistants. The data suggests that companies need to increase safety standards to protect their workers, like stricter mask-use policies for customers or more remote shopping options.

To learn more about COVID-19 workers’ compensation filings in California, you can click here to read a full article from Insurance Journal. For more information about filing a workers’ comp claim in Glendale or Santa Clarita, call the Law Offices of Wax & Wax at (818) 946-0608. We offer free consultations to inquiring clients, and we can conduct the majority of our casework remotely for the utmost safety during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.