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Mandating COVID-19 Vaccine May Impact Workers’ Compensation Claims

 Posted on February 26,2021 in Workers' Compensation

San Benito County workers compensation attorney

This year has been unprecedented, to say the least, especially when it comes to safety in the workplace. As COVID-19 hit the United States, most businesses went fully remote, and almost one year later, many are still working from home. Those considered essential workers, however, were not given this option. Essential workers have been placed at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than those who have been granted the benefit of keeping their job while also working remotely. The state of California recognized this and granted additional protective measures to those on the frontlines. With the vaccine now being administered, many workplaces are requiring their employees to get the vaccine before returning to work. Getting the vaccine may protect against COVID-19, but it has also left many with serious side effects and wondering if workers’ compensation is an option.

Senate Bill 1159

California legislature released Senate Bill 1159 back in September 2020, which states that COVID-19 may be considered a work-related illness, making employees eligible for workers’ comp, if the following conditions are met:

  1. The employee must have contracted COVID-19 between March 19 and July 5, 2020. The employee must have received a positive test within 14 days of performing their job outside of their home.

  2. First responders and healthcare workers who contracted COVID-19 on or after July 6, 2020. The employee must have received a positive test within 14 days of performing their job outside of their home.

  3. Any employee who contracted COVID-19 on or after July 6, 2020, after an outbreak at their workplace. The employee must have received a positive test within 14 days of performing their job outside of their home.

Anyone who falls under these three categories is eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. This can provide coverage for any related medical care, temporary disability benefits, or even permanent disability benefits or death benefits if applicable.

The Implications of the Vaccine

At this time, many Californians are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine and for a return to a sense of normalcy. Some workplaces are considering requiring their employees to get the vaccine in order to better protect all of their employees from the virus. While this may seem like a valid requirement, it could have implications on workers’ compensation claims. It is no secret that many people who have gotten the vaccine have faced serious side effects, leaving others weary of how their own bodies will react. If employers impose a vaccination mandate, medical complications resulting from the vaccine may be covered under workers’ compensation. In other words, if an employee suffers injuries from the vaccine, they may be eligible to receive benefits. Even if the employer does not require the vaccine but highly encourages their employees to get the vaccine, a vaccine-related injury or severe reaction could be considered a compensable injury. Experts suggest employers provide the option of a few paid days off work for employees to get the shot and recover to avoid facing a high number of workers’ comp claims.

Contact a Morgan Hill Workers’ Comp Attorney

Workers’ compensation claims in regards to side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are uncharted territory that should be handled by a legal professional. Employers will often do anything they can to avoid facing workers’ compensation claims, including telling their employees that they are not responsible for the side effects of the vaccine and thus cannot provide the benefits owed to them. Cramer & Martinez, LLP has been helping California’s injured workers since 1992 and we are always up to date on the most recent concerns, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Our legal team will be your guide and advocate to help you obtain the financial assistance that you deserve. Call our knowledgeable Santa Clara County workers’ compensation lawyers at 408-848-1113 to schedule your free consultation.




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