Workers’ Compensation

Ca. Workers' Comp. Quarterly 2020, Vol. 33, No. 3

COVID-19 CODIFIED: Navigating the SB 1159 Presumptions, and Beyond

Randy H. Pollak, Esq. Thousand Oaks, California

Viviana Santiago, Esq. Concord, California

COVID-19 has turned the entire world upside down and inside out. In the world of workers’ compensation, the impact of the disease on our system and our practice of law has been severe. However, Governor Newsom provided some order on September 17, 2020, when he signed into law Senate Bill 1159 (SB 1159). This legislation was designed to bring some level of structure to the handling of COVID claims in California’s workers’ compensation system. SB 1159’s central framework comprises a fairly complex system of three distinct rebuttable presumptions, as well as a robust employer reporting requirement. SB 1159 was passed as an urgency bill and became effective immediately. This article reviews SB 1159 to provide a road map of the essential elements and common issues that will inevitably arise in the handling of these claims.

How Do Presumptions Work?

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