Due to a recent study from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, several news outlets this summer have reported a remarkable drop in workers' compensation costs for employers in California. This kind of drop, it is claimed, was much needed, considering California continues to have the highest workers' compensation costs in the country.
As The Sacramento Bee reported recently, the drop in costs is credited to 2012 reforms aimed at relieving the cost of workers' compensation insurance for California employers. According to the newest data, $2.84 of every $100 of payroll in California is dedicated to workers' comp costs—progress, but still high.
Absent from most of this reporting, however, is the effect of these reforms (which The Sacramento Bee notes focused on "adding new utilization reviews and restrictions") have had on actual workers' comp claimants. Fortunately, there have been a few outlets that, over the last few years, have been concerned with similar reforms passed in states across the U.S.
ProPublica & NPR's Reporting
ProPublica & NPR have been documenting the effects of new workers' compensation laws all over the country—including those here in California. Their findings are troubling and illustrate why the measures put in place to save employers money have come at a great cost to injured workers in need of benefits.
Take the case of Nicolas Mercado, a 54-year-old San Bernardino truck driver who was paralyzed in a serious accident. Due to California's new reliance on outside medical reviewers, his insurance company was able to delay recommended alterations to his house with administrative red tape. Ultimately, after months of delays and appeals and additional reviews, Mercado won the alterations to his house he needed after a local news outlet covered his struggle for benefits.
Relying on outside medical reviewers to make critical claim determinations isn't the only way California's worker's compensation system has mitigated employer costs. Other new policies include putting arbitrary time limits on temporary wage benefits and reassessments of older claims using new, stricter guidelines to deny long-standing benefits.
All of these reasons—and others—are why retaining proven counsel when applying for workers' compensation is so critical. It has never been harder to secure proper workers' comp benefits in California and the Law Offices of Wax & Wax is up to the challenge. Our award-winning Glendale workers' compensation lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience in assisting injured workers and know what it takes to confront the challenges they face with their workers' comp claims.
Discover what a proven legal advocate can do for you and your workers' compensation claim. Call our firm today for assistance.