The current pandemic has left many employees in ambiguous situations. While some essential workers are still required to report to their physical place of work, others have taken up working at home to still meet their deadlines and bring in income. After all, many Californians have been ordered by recent laws to shelter in place to avoid spreading COVID-19.
At first glance, many businesses might think they will have to handle fewer workers’ compensation claims because fewer individuals are physically reporting to the office. Many employees might also believe they can no longer file claims for the same reason. In fact, the potential for a decrease in claims influenced the decision of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s Order of April 13, 2020. The Order requires insurers to refund certain business and individual premiums.
But will there be a decrease in claims, and what can you, as an individual do if you experience a work-related injury at home?
Read on to find out.
The Current Legal Standard
Throughout the majority of the state of California, an employee must suffer an injury or disease that causes disability or creates the need for medical treatment while at work or while completing tasks for work. The employee does not need to prove their employer was negligent. Injuries or diseases could be caused by single incidents or from long term exposure or repetitive traumatic injury. Usually, a non-occupational disease is not compensable – such as a cold or flu. It is also important to note injuries at work may not be compensable if the employee is intoxicated, self-inflicted the trauma, engaged in a physical altercation, sustained the injuries during a felony, or were participating in a voluntary off-duty activity like an office football match.