This past week Governor Jerry Brown signed a new California workers’ compensation bill aimed at helping workers who suffer personal injuries on the job. The bill is intended to increase benefits paid to injured workers and decrease costs to California businesses.
Brown stated that the changes were necessary to improve how work place injuries are managed. The revisions will help those injured by making it easier to recover compensation. Additionally, the bill provides for increased payments to injured and disabled workers.
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to consult with a California work place injury attorney right away to ensure you get the compensation you deserve and to answer all of your personal injury questions.
Despite significant support, many California attorneys for injured workers are concerned that some of the limits on litigation imposed by the bill will make it difficult for those who suffer significant personal injuries and are unable to return to work to recover sufficient benefits.
According to the insurance-run Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, there were 527,000 workplace injuries reported in 2011, about 174,000 of which resulted in temporary and permanent disability or death.
The new bill changes how benefits are calculated for injured workers and creates a binding arbitration process to resolve coverage disputes. It also takes the controversial step to eliminate coverage for conditions that most commonly lead to lawsuits such as insomnia and mental-health problems.
Additionally, the reforms seek to prevent lawsuits by establishing a binding independent review system to resolve medical disputes and shortening the timeline for approval of treatment from two years to three months. Whether these measures will help those injured is unclear – often the extent of a serious personal injury is not evident until well after three months has expired.
It is important to remember though even though California workers compensation laws govern most work place injuries, in certain circumstances it may be possible to bring a civil lawsuit. Filing a civil injury claim may allow you to recover significantly more in damages than provided under workers compensation laws.
A civil personal injury lawsuit may be filed where a “third party” [someone other than your employer] is responsible for your injuries. This includes situations where a person is harmed as the result of a defective machine or product, or suffers personal injury due to exposure to a toxic chemical, or is otherwise harmed as the result of a third party’s actions.
In these situations, it may be possible to recover typical tort law damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.
Work related accidents can be confusing, and the best approach to recovering the damages you deserve may not be clear. Contact an experienced Sacramento work related accident attorney and personal injury attorney at Sette Law Office right away if you’ve been hurt so we can get to work for you.