Good news for injured workers

The California Department of Industrial Relations will begin accepting applications on April 13 in selected cases that qualify where injured workers can receive a share of a new $120 million Return-To-Work Supplement fund. In selected cases injured workers will receive a $5,000 check from the employer-funded program. The injured worker must have already received a $6,000 supplemental job displacement benefit voucher. Then, they must complete the on-line electronic application. “Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, April 13, 2015. All completed…

Temporary Total Disability Rates Have Increased

Minimum and maximum temporary total disability (TTD) rates for 2015 work injury claims have increased as of January 1 as a result of the rise in California’s State Average Weekly Wage, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. The weekly wage rose more than 2.67 percent from $31,067.25 to $1,095.70 in the 12 months ending March 31, 2015. The TTD benefits is two-thirds of the worker’s salary, with a minimum and maximum amount. As of January 1, the minimum TTD…

Are Mental Injuries Still Allowed Under the Labor Code?

Q. Are mental injuries still allowed under the labor code as amended in the new workers’ compensation reform laws? A. For a worker to benefit from the “violent act” exception, Labor Code Section 4660.1 says the worker must either be the victim of, or have direct exposure to, a “violent act” within the meaning of Section 3208.3. Section 3208.3 does not define “violent act,” and California’s courts have rarely addressed this statute in a workers’ compensation context. The Workers’ Compensation…

AMA classification of obesity as a disease state could increase benefit eligibility

The American Medical Association‘s House of Delegates approved a resolution in June reclassifying obesity as a disease state. The AMA’S action could mean that an injured worker who gains weight due to inactivity or as a side effect of prescribed medications may be eligible for increased benefits, according to experts in workers’ compensation. After studying claims data from accident years 2005-2010 in the Golden State, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute analyzed claims data it considered various possible impacts on the…

Shop Around for Health Care Insurance

As of January 1, 2014, the law requires almost everyone who is a legal U.S. resident to have health coverage or pay a penalty. In the first year, people without minimum coverage (a plan that pays for at least 60 percent of health care services) must pay $95 or one percent of their taxable earnings (whichever is greater). This penalty goes up each year, according to my agent, Rocky Capobianco. So, why did this happen? The government created the Health…

Workers Compensation Claim Costs Skyrocket With Use of Opioids

A recent article from WorkersCompensation.com caught my eye because so many of my clients take opioids. An opioid is any psychoactive chemical that resembles morphine in its pharmacological effects. It seems that more and more doctors are prescribing more and more opioids for pain in work comp cases. The cost of workers compensation claims skyrocket when injured employees start using narcotics, according to this article. The average lost-time workers compensation claim in the U.S. without the use of opioids cost…

Qualified Medical Examiner Backlog … Again?

Many applicant attorneys are writing to the Director of the Division of Workers Compensation and Department of Industrial Relations at the following address: State of California, 1515 Clay Street, 17th Floor, Oakland, California, 94612-1486 to complain about the delay in obtaining a panel of qualified medical examiners (or QMEs) from the Medical Unit of the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Three to 12 months of delay when an injured worker is waiting for treatment is not only unreasonable and unnecessary, but…

New Workers Comp Law in Effect in California

On January 1, 2013 a new law, SB 863, went into effect that changes Workers Compensation Law in California.