In 2004, SB 899 was passed in California and the state has undergone a major Workman's Compensation reform. Below are highlights of major changes made.
SB 899 Changes in Workers' Compensation
- Medical care within 24 hours up to $10,000.00; this has to be within one working day after you file a claim form, and the employer is supposed to authorize treatment.
- Medical Provider Networks; the injured employee must use the medical provider network if one exists.
- Changes in Apportionment; the percentage of liability by the insurance company based on the apportionment of the injury that was caused by the injury in work, from natural progression, or pre-existing injury.
- New way of measuring permanent disability; the standard is how does your injury affect your ability to perform activities of daily living.
- Treatment Guidelines; Insurance companies will have the right to refuse to authorize any treatment that does not fit into guidelines that were passed by the legislator.
- No free choice of evaluating doctor
- No more vocational rehabilitation; this is for all injuries after 1/1/04.
- Changes in penalty provisions; it used to be that an unreasonable delay penalty was 10% now a judge can award 25% of the delayed benefit or up to $10,000 whichever is less.
- Two year cap; injuries occurring after 4/19/04 has a cap of 104 compensable weeks within a period of two years for the date of commencement of temporary payments, with an exception for a few serious injuries.