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At CBE Law we pride ourselves on continuing to stay educated and at the forefront of workers’ compensation legal defense issues. To that end, below is a list of useful workers’ compensation related links. Of course, feel free to contact us if you need any assistance with your workers’ compensation questions.
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On September 17, 2020, California Governor Newsom approved Assembly Bill 685, or “COVID-19: Imminent Hazard to Employees: Exposure, Notification, Serious Violations.” As COVID-19 has continued to spread throughout California, AB685 is focused on tracking workplace exposure, gathering, and sharing accurate data, and leveraging that data to keep employees safe. AB685 establishes guidelines for employers’ duty to report information on COVID-19 outbreaks. Positive COVID-19 tests and diagnoses must be immediately reported to the workforce, to members of the public, to insurance carriers, and to state agencies.
We knew that the legislative framework would soon follow the Governor’s patchwork executive order, and that indeed is what occurred with SB 1159. On August 31, 2020, California legislature passed SB 1159 and declared it an “emergency measure” that applies to pending claims relying on the prior Executive Order.
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If the typical workers’ compensation claim was analogized as an Olympic marathon, then the Panel Qualified Medical Evaluator (“PQME”) selection should be regarded as the 100-meter sprint. For purposes of this article, the context involves the situation in which the Applicant is represented by an attorney and the compensability of the claim has been delayed or denied.
Recently, the August 21st deadline passed to reclassify independent contractors for companies including Uber and Lyft, as employees. This deadline was initially ordered by the California Court of Appeals pursuant to Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which went into effect on Jan 1, 2020. As we all know first-hand, Californians have come to rely on ride-share giants Uber and Lyft--and in our current COVID-world, UberEats, Doordash, and other gig-services provided by independent contractors.
When last we spoke, Governor Newsom had just signed an executive order for a COVID-19 presumption for employees, wherein any COVID-19 related illness was presumed to have arisen in the course of the employment for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits. The rebuttable presumption is confined to within 14 days of working at the employee’s place of business from March 19, 2020 to July 5, 2020.
As many of us know by now, on May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order for a COVID-19 presumption for employees. Specifically, any COVID-related illness is presumed “to arise out of and in the course of the employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits…”
With the advent of Spring, we are instinctively hopeful for what lies ahead. But for those who deal in workplace claims, we all fear what lies ahead for us. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will likely see an increase of claims in response to either layoffs or due to COVID-19 related illness itself. In fact, some claims are already manifesting.