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Law Offices of Ochoa & Calderon Riverside Workers' Compensation Attorneys

Riverside Coronavirus Work Claims Lawyers

Helping California Workers Get the Benefits They Are Owed For Coronavirus-Related Harms in Southern California

The novel coronavirus has affected nearly every aspect of our daily lives, in small ways as well as large. While we keep hoping for a conclusive “end” to the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears more likely that the pandemic may fade from the forefront of our minds, but the virus will remain. Employers across the country have begun asking employees to return to the office even as new coronavirus strains emerge and spread. Employees who return to the office only to contract the illness have the right to get medical care and compensation for any harm they suffer.

The workplace illness lawyers at Ochoa & Calderón are ready to protect your rights after a coronavirus exposure in the workplace. If you’ve gotten sick after a workplace COVID-19 exposure, you have the right to collect benefits for any time you miss from work as well as for any medical treatment you need to recover. You also have the right to a safe, secure work environment; we’ll help you protect yourself and your co-workers. Call Ochoa & Calderón today for advice and assistance concerning coronavirus workplace claims.

Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19

California employees who contract the coronavirus from exposure in the workplace are entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Workers are entitled to medical benefits, compensation for time missed from work, and other potential benefits depending on the severity of their infection.

Workers’ comp benefits, however, depend on the employee proving that it’s a work-related illness–that they were exposed at work. As the pandemic wanes, that can prove a bit more challenging. Thankfully, California law now affords a presumption that COVID-19 exposure happened in the workplace under certain circumstances.

Workers benefit from a presumption that they contracted coronavirus at work when:

  • The employee works in certain fields, including healthcare, law enforcement, emergency response, or firefighting; or
  • The employee tested positive during an outbreak at the employee’s place of employment. The presumption applies to employers with at least five employees. An “outbreak” occurs when enough employees test positive during a 14-day period.

The presumption is rebuttable, meaning employers can counter with proof that they maintained sufficient safety protocols to prevent workplace exposure.

If you believe you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus at work, call an experienced coronavirus work claim attorney to discuss your claims. A seasoned workers’ comp lawyer can help you prove your claim to ensure you recover the maximum available benefits.

Did Your Employer Force You to Work in Unsafe Work Conditions?

Workers who contract the coronavirus at work may be entitled to damages beyond workers’ compensation. While workers’ comp is normally the exclusive remedy for claims against employers regarding workplace injuries and illnesses, there are exceptions. Workers can bring a claim for liability directly against employers who caused them harm by committing “serious & willful misconduct.” Flagrant violation of safety standards might constitute “serious & willful misconduct,” depending on the circumstances.

During the national and state emergencies caused by the novel coronavirus, a number of safety measures were mandated by the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). These measures included mask mandates, sanitation standards, workplace closures, limitations on office or storefront capacity, and social distancing. Employers who violated those protocols and forced workers to pile into the workplace or remove their masks to present a friendlier face to customers may be liable for any harm that caused their employees.

Many of those emergency measures have been lifted, but employers are still responsible for ensuring a safe environment for workers. Employers in certain industries, including healthcare, must continue to observe more stringent COVID-19 measures including the provision of face coverings and additional distancing and sanitation procedures.

Employers across all industries must still provide a safe work environment, including by enforcing mask mandates during outbreaks and enforcing appropriate protocols whenever there is a COVID-19 exposure or outbreak in the workplace.

If you believe you may have contracted COVID-19 at work because of your employer’s deliberate refusal to maintain a safe work environment, call a seasoned California coronavirus work claim lawyer. You may have a claim against your employer beyond workers’ comp, and you may be able to protect yourself and your coworkers in the future from unnecessary viral exposure.

Our Riverside Coronavirus Work Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help You Recover the Benefits You Deserve

For help getting benefits after a COVID-19 infection or other workplace illness, call Ochoa & Calderón to discuss your case with a dedicated and compassionate California workers’ comp lawyer. Call 951-901-4444 in Riverside or 844-401-0750 toll-free throughout Southern California.

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