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California Workers’ Compensation Reform of 2013 to Have Long-Lasting Implications

On January 1, 2013, California enacted Senate Bill 863, which included several reforms to the state workers’ compensation market. This included enhanced benefits for workers who are permanently disabled and mandated, independent medical reviews for all disputes surrounding medical treatment. Experts believe that these reforms have played a significant role in influencing the market in its first two years, and will continue to do so into the future.

Experts have, for the most part, been very positive about the effects of last year’s reforms. Of course, there was an adjustment period that was necessary for the reforms to take hold, particularly in regard to the mandatory medical review process. Now the process begins as soon as an injured worker files a dispute of a mandatory utilization review.

The reforms have affected a wide variety of businesses and organizations, ranging from construction firms to school districts. Initially, litigation costs associated with workers’ compensation claims dropped significantly because the mandated reviews were helping claimants to get the benefits they needed efficiently and without hassle. And although these costs have started to increase somewhat, they are still nowhere near the levels they were at before the reforms began.

With less litigation and more people getting the workers’ compensation benefits they need after an injury, it appears that the reforms have so far been great for employers and employees alike. It’s clear that these reforms will continue to have an impact on the California workers’ comp market in the foreseeable future.

To learn more about these reforms and how they may impact your claim for benefits, consult a knowledgeable Riverside workers’ compensation lawyer with the Tous Law Group.


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