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Tuesday, 13 October 2020 19:02

California COVID Presumption Law Creates New Data Tracking Burdens

Written by Jim Sams, Claims Journal

Index

The rules will get even tighter next year. Newsom also signed into law Assembly Bill 685, which takes effect Jan. 1. The bill requires employers to provide written notice to all employees and subcontracted employees within one day of learning of any potential worksite exposure. Employers will also be required to notify the state Department of Public Health any time that they exceed the threshold for an outbreak as defined by SB 1159.

 

Attorneys say it is important for employers remember that a presumption does not mean every worker who files a claim qualifies for benefits.

 

John P. Kamin, a defense attorney with the Bradford & Barthell law firm in Woodland Hills, heads up a COVID-19 response team for the law firm, which keeps claims professionals abreast of the voluminous requirements.

 

During a telephone interview, Kamin said it is crucial that claims adjusters build a timeline: When did symptoms begin? When was exposure suspected? What was the last date of work? When was a COVID-19 test done? When were the results known?

 

“If there are red flags on the claim, they will likely show up there,” Kamin said.

 

He gave this example: If the employee’s last day worked was July 8, but the date they first felt symptoms was Aug. 12 and they received the positive test result on Aug. 14. The claim is not compensable because the law requires a positive test result within 14 days of the last day the employee worked.

 

The legislation itself has built in defenses against claims. For one, an employee has to have worked away from his or her home to qualify. The outbreak criteria also must also be met, except for health care workers and first responders.


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