The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) recently released a study indicating that most working age Californians that fell ill due to the coronavirus did not file work injury claims. According to their data, only one in every fourteen Covid-19 cases in Californians aged 18 to 65 years filed for workers’ compensation. Furthermore, just one in twenty-five registered coronavirus deaths were recorded as “work-related” cases. The study homed in on coronavirus cases that were reported to the DPH and the DWC from May to September earlier this year.
During the study period, just 7.2% of nearly 650,000 registered Covid-19 cases and only 4.1% of the nearly 4,000 Covid-19 mortalities filed for workers’ compensation injury or death benefits. All in all, only one out of every 9 workers’ comp claims are coronavirus related – indicating a period of adjustment as workers, employers, and healthcare facilities alike begin to adjust to the existence of the virus, as well as all the new legislation surrounding it. Health workers take up the largest share of Covid-19 claims filed, making up 38.1% of them in the first eight months of the year, followed by government & public safety workers at 15.8%.
The CWCI promises that it will further study the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the results of which will be made available on their official website tracker. It is widely expected that as the virus continues to spread, the industry will begin to experience a steady increase in coronavirus related work injury and death claims – which could be the trend up until the emergence of a reliable vaccine capable of eradicating Covid-19 once and for all. But until then, the state’s workers’ compensation system should prepare for a possible surge of Covid claims and ensure that an increase in traffic does not result in errors and delays in the filing process.
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