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Workers' Compensation Legislative Update

At the end of the legislative session in 2011, Governor Jerry Brown advised the workers’ compensation community that if there were to be workers’ compensation reform, he preferred a major, global reform bill.  With that in mind, he vetoed most of the proposed legislation that made it to his desk in 2011 addressing some of the deficiencies in our current workers’ compensation system. 

It remains to be seen in 2012 if the employer, labor and other groups in the workers’ compensation community can come to terms on a workers’ compensation reform bill pursuant to Governor Brown.  Advocates for injured workers, including those of us at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK), firmly believe that there are changes needed in the law to improve access to medical benefits and increase permanent disability benefits. Some of the other deficiencies in the system that arose out of the major reform of workers’ compensation in 2005 under then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also need to be corrected.  We continue to be at the forefront of advocating for those changes, and will keep you informed of how any such changes will impact your case and your legal rights.

Presently, there are two important, but limited, bills pending in the legislature to address some needed changes that are of interest to public safety officers.   

Assembly Bill 2451 (Perez) would change the statute of limitations for public safety officers related to presumptive injuries that result in death. The current law states that a claim for death benefits must be filed within five years from the date of the injury, which requires that the death occur within the five-year period.  The new law would allow for a claim for death benefits within one year from the date of death regardless of when the death occurs. For more information, click here.

Assembly Bill 1687 (Fong) would authorize the Appeals Board to award attorneys' fees reasonably incurred by an injured worker in connection with the enforcement of a future medical award following a dispute that arises in the course of a medical utilization review process. The intent of this bill is to assist injured workers in getting denied future medical care benefits authorized.  For more information, click here.

The workers’ compensation attorneys at GEK are all members of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association. Many serve on the Board of Directors and are involved in a variety of committees, including the Legislative Committee.  We will continue to stay involved in an effort to promote legislation that will allow for fair and accurate benefits for injured workers. 

For more information about GEK, please visit our website at www.geklaw.com.

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