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California Vocational Rehabilitation and the Sweet Hereafter – Struggling to Find Meaning Post-Weiner

Does a workers' compensation system that loses its vocational rehabilitation program lose its meaning? In 1965 the California legislature introduced the concept of "vocational rehabilitation" by adopting Labor Code § 139.5. In 1974, the legislature amended Labor Code § 139...

The Downside of Denial: A California Perspective

There is an old joke where the schoolboy is asked to use “denial” in a sentence and he responds, “Denial is a river in Egypt.” In Workers’ Compensation, the denial is definitely not a river, but if not properly timed and exercised, a denial can leave the adjuster with a...

Impact of Employee Free Choice Act on Workers’ Compensation Claims

The debate over the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 ( H.R. 1409 ) has largely overlooked the potentially significant effects of this legislation on the Workers’ Compensation arena. The enhanced protections against unfair practices and majority signature provisions of the EFCA will inevitably facilitate...

California: Current Issues in Spinal Surgery Second Opinion Procedure

Has Sandhagen eliminated the employer’s right to proceed directly with objecting to a treating doctor’s request for spinal surgery and obtaining a spinal surgery second opinion evaluation as allowed for under the Brasher decision, and must the employer now first submit the matter to UR? ...

California Self Insureds’ Average Claim Costs Jump as Medical Losses Increase

Calendar year 2008 data issued by the state Office of Self Insurance Plans (OSIP) last week shows average paid and incurred losses on California workers’ compensation self-insured claim rose sharply last year, led by a big jump in medical payments. The state’s initial summary of 2008 private...

California Workers’ Compensation – The Risk of Transferring Risk

Depending on the source, California’s $1.727 Trillion economy falls somewhere between the 3rd and 10th largest when compared to all other nations of the world. With a population estimated at nearly 37 Million, the cost of protecting the state’s workforce against industrial accidents and...

The COLA Wars

A great deal of confusion and litigious contention has predictably arisen over the application of the so-called COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) application to life pension cases and 100% permanent total disability cases with dates of injury after January 1, 2003. Currently, cases are making their way...

Poizner’s Directive Bears Fruit

One large problem in California workers' comp has been the inability of the WCIRB to accurately assess workers' comp cost trends. The WCIRB (Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau) collects data from insurers and makes recommendations on rates to California 's Insurance Commissioner...

Taneka’s Law Eliminates Ambiguity Over Definition of Personal Relationship as Basis for Denying Workers’ Comp Claim

Today, with the signing of AB 1093, Taneka Talley’s senseless death has a bittersweet epilogue. Justice has been served for the Talley family, and her son should know that a California law in his mother’s name will live on to protect others who might find themselves in such tragic circumstances...

Injured Women After Reform (iWAR) Seeks to Elect New Calif. Governor, End Discrimination Against Women Injured at Work

On Thursday, October 8, 2009, women injured at work and women attorneys who are their advocates announced formation of Injured Women After Reform (iWAR), a new political action committee and Internet-based campaign to elect a new governor who will end discrimination against women in the workplace. ...

CWCI Launches Scorecard Series Examining California Workers’ Comp Claims Experience by Industry

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute has initiated a new series of research publications, “California Workers’ Compensation Industry Score Cards,” which use subsets of data from CWCI’s Industry Claims Information System (ICIS) database to measure various aspects...

CWCI Industry Scorecard Examines Job Injury Claims by Professional/Clerical Workers

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute has issued a new “Industry Score Card,” the second in a new research series that looks at claims experience within key sectors of the California economy. The new Score Card provides detailed data derived from 361,384 work injury claims...

California Lawmakers Shift More Regulatory Costs onto Employers

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has calculated the 2010 assessments that state law requires workers’ compensation insurers collect from policyholders to cover the budget of the state Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), as well as five related programs mandated...

CWCI Scorecard Looks at California Workers’ Comp Claims in the Mercantile Sector

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute has released the third edition of its “Industry Scorecard” which provides detailed data on accident year (AY) 2000 to 2008 claims experience among mercantile workers in California . The new Scorecard is based on an analysis of 281,675...

The California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Market – You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

The RAND Corporation recently released a 164 page monograph on California workers’ compensation: "California’s Volatile Workers’ Compensation Insurance Market – Problems and Recommendations for Change”. Considering the season, perhaps a more fitting title would have...

California Workers’ Compensation: Things to Know for 2010

New Minimum and Maximum TD Rates The State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) increased in 2009, climbing 2.99% from $984.83 to $956.20. This in turn will affect the maximum and minimum indemnity rates payable for temporary disability for all workers whose date of injury is on or after January 1, 2003. The...

Does a Bankruptcy Affect Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

This is a very simple question that arises in our cases from time to time. But since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, with the increases in foreclosures, and with unprecedented unemployment the question is bound to come up more often. In many cases, workers’ compensation benefits...

CWCI Scorecard Examines Agriculture Claims in the California Workers’ Compensation System

This week, the California Workers' Compensation Institute issued its latest "Industry Scorecard" which provides detailed data on accident year (AY) 2000 to 2008 claims experience among agriculture workers in California. The new Scorecard is based on an analysis of nearly 133,000 work...

The “Gory Story” – How a Medicare Lien Went Wrong

A California Applicant claimed injuries AOE/COE to her bilateral upper extremities, neck and back on a continuous trauma basis through 8/21/2000. An Agreed Medical Examiner (AME) opined that all injuries were compensable except the neck. The Applicant was a Medicare beneficiary prior to the settlement...

CWCI Score Card Looks at Durable Goods Manufacturing Job Injury Claims in California

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute has issued the 5th edition of its “Industry Scorecard” featuring detailed data on accident year (AY) 2000-2008 claims experience of durable goods manufacturing workers in California . The Score Card reflects data from 208,159 work injury...

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We're pleased to announce a new format for our FREE weekly eNewsletter - California Edition. To view a sample enewsletter for February 10, 2010, click here . To be added to the distribution list, email Robin.E.Kobayashi@lexisnexis.com with your request.