5 years have now passed since S.B. 899, worker’s compensation “reform,” was enacted. Since that time, payouts for those injured at work have significantly decreased. In fact, benefits for permanently disabled workers have been reduced on average by 50 to 70 percent.
While employers laud the savings, injured employees in Marin County and all of California have suffered the consequences. These consequences include the failure to receive benefits, strict limitations on the benefits one can receive, and restrictions on doctor’s visits and medical attention available. Recently, I had a client in need of knee surgery as a result of a work place accident. However, despite the orthopedic surgeon’s recommendation that surgery was necessary, it was denied by the employer’s insurance company because it was not “life altering.”
Unfortunately, an insurance company’s denial of a surgical procedure is not uncommon. The real cost of worker’s compensation reform has been to those injured California workers who suffer serious, often long-term, work related injuries and are denied the medical attention they need.
Many times hiring an experienced worker’s compensation attorney will greatly improve your chances of receiving adequate benefits by helping you file your claim, and providing crucial advice throughout your claims process. Further, if your claim is denied, an attorney can prepare your appeal, increasing your chances of a positive outcome.
As a California worker’s compensation attorney, I believe significant changes need to be made to the current worker’s compensation laws. Too often, the existing laws deny injured workers the benefits they both need and deserve.