Changes in workers’ compensation laws underway in California

Changes in workers’ compensation laws underway in California

Earlier this month, chatter among lawmakers, attorneys, and unions began to multiply following reports that changes in California’s workers’ compensation laws were underway. Worry began to mount panic as lobbyists began to push for changes to pass, while attorneys who represented injured workers petitioned to stop the action. Somewhere in the middle were folks like us who wanted workers’ compensation reform done the right way – unrushed, thought out, and most importantly, written in such a way to close often fraudulent loopholes that arise from psychological and cumulative trauma claims.

In midst of the purported chaos, the team at Work Comp Fraud Fighters sent a press release urging concerned business owners to petition Assemblyman Jose Solorio to reform workers’ comp laws in California, especially before these so-called “secret laws” came into effect.

The petition calls upon Solorio to make important changes to Senate Bill 863 – a proposed legislation that would change the formula used to calculate benefits for injured workers. According to The Sacramento Bee, the proposed formula would raise “payments by an average of 29 percent while eliminating aspects of the process that are frequently subject to lawsuits, such as enhancements for psychiatric problems, sexual dysfunction or loss of sleep.”

But the changes would translate to less business for workers’ comp attorneys who defend claims such these. Lawyers are now battling out with legislators who want to reform workers’ comp in our state.

“The devil is in the details and we didn’t get this bill until (Friday), and now we learn today that it’s been amended again last night,” said Brad Chalk, president of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

An actuary from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California testified that the plan would reduce costs by $760 million in 2013.

The savings would be poured into raising benefits for permanently disabled workers. They would see their benefits increase by between 1 percent and 110 percent, depending on the severity of their injury, with an average increase of 29 percent, according to a report from the bill’s author, Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles.

And employers would probably pay less for workers’ compensation insurance, according to the State Compensation Insurance Fund, which says the savings achieved in the bill could cause its rates to drop by 5 percent to 7 percent.

Even though the promise for lower workers’ comp rates is alluring to many small businesses, it’s important that every single detail be accounted for before this workers’ comp bill passes. That’s why it’s never been so important that small- to mid-size businesses gather their alliances and sign this workers’ comp petition right now.

Let’s get Solorio to meet with us and make the changes that California workers’ comp so desperately needs.

Sign the petition now.