During Lobby Day 2019, Workers' Compensation Attorneys Support Legislation to Help Those Hurt at Work
GEKLAW Co-Managing Partner Adam Dombchik was one of more than 40 members of the California Applicants' Attorneys Association (CAAA) who traveled to Sacramento recently to meet with state lawmakers to discuss important issues facing injured workers during Lobby Day.
This is nothing new for Dombchik who, along with several other GEKLAW attorneys, regularly makes this trip to the State Capitol with fellow CAAA members to fight for the rights of those hurt at work.
This year there were two specific workers' compensation bills CAAA was supporting: Senate Bill (SB) 731 and Assembly Bill (AB) 1107.
Bias and discrimination in the workers' compensation system is addressed in SB 731. Presently, a workers' compensation doctor prepares a report determining what percentage of a worker's injury is caused by non-industrial issues, including prior workplace injuries. This can prove problematic, however, as was the case in City of Jackson v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, which found that there could be a reduction in permanent disability benefits due to hereditary factors or genetic make-up. If passed, SB 731 would prohibit the Division of Workers' Compensation from considering factors such as race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual identity or orientation or genetic characteristics from determining a claim for permanent disability.
AB 1107 tackles the Utilization Review (UR) and Independent Medical Review (IMR) processes, which often cause delays in medical treatment, thus hindering recovery and the delaying return to work. AB 1107 aims at removing the UR and IMR requirements when (1) the treatment has already been approved by the employer (and there are no change in circumstances to warrant a treatment change), or (2) when the treatment was recommended by a doctor chosen by the employer (a Medical Provider Network physician). As to this second element of the bill, Legislators were asked, "Does it make any sense that an employer spend additional money second guessing their selected physician's treatment requests?" Many of the Legislators that Dombchik met with resoundingly agreed it made no sense, and offered support for this bill.
"Both of these bills are important in terms of creating a fair and just workers' compensation system," says Dombchik. "California's workers' compensation system can be improved when those who represent workers hurt on the job join together and have our voices—and those of our clients—heard by the lawmakers.
"At GEKLAW we will continue the good fight as we have done for decades, and will keep you informed of news from Sacramento related to injured workers."
Stay updated on the latest workers' compensation news by visiting our website at www.geklaw.com.