Many of my readers will recall that in my prior articles, I have discussed such things as psychiatric Workers Compensation claims, sleep disturbance claims and even sexual dysfunction as a psychiatric claim. These “sequelae” issues, which usually are alleged to extend from an underlying orthopedic injury, may well be a thing of the past.
A Workers’ Compensation reform measure, apparently backed by both employers and Labor, was expedited through the California Legislature on August 31, 2012. Incredibly, the bill had strong bi-partisan support. If Governor Brown signs on (which he is expected to do), psychological, sexual and sleep dysfunction issues will no longer be recognized in determining an individual’s permanent disability as the result of a Workers Compensation claim. In the case of psychiatric injury however, this may still surface in instances of “catastrophic injury” or if an individual suffers or witnesses a violent act.
In return for these “sacrifices,” injured workers may be eligible for a $6,000 supplemental job displacement benefit that can be used for vocational rehabilitation and (more impressively) an increase of a purported $7 million over two years in increased disability benefits. In other words, the orthopedic core injuries will be worth more money. While some (especially in the Labor community) are suggesting that the measure came about as the result of a “back room deal,” the bipartisan support suggests that both political parties in Sacramento felt as though it was in their mutual interest to cooperate. If the bill is signed, we will look forward to seeing how it plays out.
*The above article was published in the October 2012 edition of The Magazine of Santa Clarita ~ www.santaclaritamagazine.com. All rights reserved.