Rolling back workers’ comp reforms

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 9, 2005 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Senator Joseph Dunn (D-Santa Ana) has authored SB 1023, which would essentially roll back last year’s SB 899 (Charles Poochigian, R-Fresno) reforms of Labor Code Section 5814.  Under SB 1023, an employer who does not fully comply with an order or award of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) within 10 days would be liable to the injured worker for a massive penalty if the injured worker has to return to the WCAB for enforcement.  The first instance would be a standard penalty of $2000, with subsequent instances increasing to $5000.

The high penalties of SB 1023 could be imposed for minor infractions while the employer is attempting to administer a claim in good faith.  For example, non-compliance could arise when all but 5˘ was paid to the employee due to an honest miscalculation, or when a computation on a stipulated award is calculated incorrectly, or when a permanent disability check is late after getting lost in the mail. 

This bill would cause a huge increase in litigation that will tie up the WCAB with fishing expeditions and minor disputes.  The bill creates too large of an incentive for injured workers and their attorneys to litigate every issue instead of working with the claims administrator to resolve what could be a simple unintended error. 

SB 1023 has passed out of the Senate and is currently up for consideration in the Assembly.  CMTA remains opposed to this bill. 

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