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New workers' compensation law to address workplace violence

Workplace accidents occur on a regular basis in California, some causing severe injuries to employees. Fortunately, state law requires employers to carry workers' compensation insurance which helps to ensure medical treatment and financial coverage for any injured employees. Even though workers' compensation is a system established for the protection of injured workers, it is often a difficult system to navigate.

As a result of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, a new bill has been introduced in the state legislature to hopefully make the filing for workers' compensation a smoother process. The shooting occurred in a state-financed health department, resulting in 14 dead and 22 others injured. The workers' compensation provided by the state is managed by the California Department of Industrial Relations (CDIR). Currently, with the way the law is written, the CDIR reviews all medical treatment and procedures prior to approval. Unfortunately, the process has prevented many of the San Bernardino victims from receiving compensation for the emergent medical treatment and other treatment their physicians felt they needed after the shooting.

The proposed law would exclude emergent medical treatment from the review process in situations where employees are injured from acts of violence or terrorism. The representatives supporting the new law also plan it to be retroactive for the victims of the San Bernardino shooting. The legislation is currently in committee will need to also be sent to the state Senate.

It is unfortunate that the San Bernardino victims experienced a terrible tragic and traumatic event and have had such a difficult time receiving their rightful insurance benefits. Medical and therapy expenses can add up quickly and denied medical treatment can prolong healing and recovery. California lawyers with experience in workers' compensation can help workers navigate the difficult process, including the right to dispute denied claims.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "CA Dreaming of a Streamlined Workers' Comp Procedure", John Gerboth, Feb. 13, 2017

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