NEW NEWS ON THE WORKERS COMPENSATION FRONT
In July 1994, benefit increases to injured worker came into effect. Benefits will be increasing over the next three years.
As of July 1, 1994, temporary disability can reach a maximum of $ 406.00 per week ( or 2/3rd of your earnings, whichever is lower ). As of
July 1, 1995, the maximum rate goes to $ 448.00 per week; as of July 1, 1996, the maximum rate increases to $ 490.00 per week.
Death benefits will also be increasing. As of July 1, 1994, if there are two or more total dependents ( usually a spouse and/or children under 18 ), benefits have increased to $ 135,000. New in the law is that if there are three or more dependents, the maximum benefit increases to $ 150,000. As of July 1, 1996, two total dependents’ benefit increase to $ 145,000 and three or more total dependents’ increase to $ 160,000.
Claims for psychiatric injuries in California have declined. This is because of new laws which severely limit post-termination injury claims, and the new “main cause” requirements, ( i.e., the need for more than 51% of your disability to be work-related ). Despite the new laws, pursuing a psychiatric or emotional disability claim should still be considered. Our office continues to handle these cases and we encourage you to call.
1995 Brings New Changes in Law
In 1995, there will be many changes the legislature has made, including workers compensation, which will affect all of your rights. They will affect your conduct both on and off the job.
The following is a brief summary of the new law:
Smoking is not permitted in places of employment, except as specified. Your local City cannot preempt the State law.
There are new regulations expanding attorney advertising in the electronic media. Messages may not be false, deceptive or misleading. Everything must be factually substantiated.
Physicians are limited on their self-referral to various other medical facilities.
Family leave for employees unable to perform a function of his or her job because of a serious health condition, other than those related to pregnancy or childbirth, has been expanded.
There may be privatization of workers compensation – this with the building trade unions and certain large employers providing alternate dispute resolution benefits and treatment.
If you are involved in a traffic collision, if your case is worth $ 50,000 or less, there is now a requirement that mediation take place.
*Any person who makes or causes to be made any knowingly false or fraudulent material statement or material representation for the purpose of obtaining or denying workers compensation benefits or payments is guilty of a felony.
This column is for general information in answer to questions and may not apply in every situation. You should consult with competent professionals for the appropriate answers in any areas. This column is not intended to initiate any attorney-client relationship.