California Workers' Compensation
The firm has
specialized in workers' compensation since its inception in 1971,
representing only injured workers (applicants) before the Workers'
Compensation Appeals Board. Workers' compensation in California is
a "no fault" system intended to provide benefits to injured
employees without regard as to who may have caused the injury.
Injured workers may receive temporary disability while they are
temporarily disabled from an injury, and are entitled to all
medical treatment reasonable and necessary to cure and relieve
them from the effects of their injury.
In April 2004, the
California legislature, at the insistence of Governor
Schwarzenegger, passed a workers' compensation reform bill that
drastically altered the rights of injured workers. The Governor
cited rising insurance rates, saving jobs and reducing costs to
employers as the reason for necessary reform. The Governor
demanded that sixteen billion dollars be eliminated in costs
coming from a reduction in benefits (medical treatment, temporary
disability and permanent disability compensation) to injured
employees. Despite these projected savings, the Governor refused
to include in the legislation, mandatory rate regulation which
would require insurance carriers to pass on the savings to
The changes in reducing medical treatment to injured workers
triggered the objection of labor associations and attorneys who
represent injured workers. Control of medical care was taken from
employees who in the past could choose their own treating
physician for a work related injury. Further, the scope of medical
treatment is now so severely limited that injured workers may find
the quality of care lower than that what might be offered in any
HMO. Under the new law, most treatment requests will be rejected
by employers and their insurance carriers with little room for the
employee to appeal the denials.
Permanent disability compensation has also been dramatically
altered by the new legislation to make it more difficult to obtain
for any resulting permanent impairment. The Governor also directed
that the permanent disability schedule, in effect for nearly 75
years, be discarded and replaced with a schedule based on the
American Medical Association guidelines for determining
impairment. Under these guidelines, injured workers will receive
significantly less, if any at all, final compensation for the
residual effects of an industrial injury.
Despite the passage of
this onerous bill, the firm continues to handle all aspects of
workers' compensation, including litigation and trials before the
Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, appeals to the Workers'
Compensation Appeals Board in San Francisco and California Court
of Appeal/Supreme Court, and appearances before the Rehabilitation
Unit of the Division of Workers' Compensation.
The firm specializes
in public sector employees including California safety members
(police officers, fire fighters, state safety members, etc.), but
also maintains a sizeable practice of injured employees from the
information, including details on the new law, please see
Frequently Asked Questions:
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