New Workers Comp Laws In California

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Governor Jerry Brown had until September 30, 2018 to sign or veto any bill passed by the California Legislature. Governor Brown signed the following workers’ comp-related bills signed into law:

PEACE OFFICERS: Assembly Bill 1749

This bill provides that a California employer may accept liability for an injury sustained by a peace officer not acting under the immediate direction of his or her employer while apprehending suspected law violators, protecting life or property, or preserving the peace outside of California. This bill specifically includes any claims for injuries sustained by peace officers during the Oct. 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nev. if the employer determines providing compensation serves public purposes.

FRAUD ASSESSMENT COMMISSION FUNDS: Assembly Bill 2046

This bill authorizes, instead of requires, Fraud Assessment Commission funds appropriated but not expended in the fiscal year that have not been allocated to the district attorneys, to be applied to satisfy the immediately following fiscal year minimum total amount required or to augment funding in the immediately following fiscal year.

The bill also requires an authorized government agency that is provided with workers’ comp insurance fraud-related information to release or provide that information to an authorized government agency, upon request, unless it would violate federal law or otherwise compromise an investigation. The bill also requires an authorized government agency that seeks to disclose information obtained from the Employment Development Department to any other governmental agency that is not authorized to receive that information to obtain EDD approval prior to disclosure.

LICENSED CONTRACTORS: Assembly Bill 2705

Licensed contractors are required to have a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance on file with the Contractors’ State License Board and violation of this law is a misdemeanor that must be prosecuted within 2 years. This bill makes it a misdemeanor violation for an unlicensed contractor to fail to comply with workers’ compensation insurance requirements and makes that violation subject to the two-year statute of limitations.

DISABILITY INDEMNITY PAYMENTS: Senate Bill 880

This bill authorizes an employer, with the written consent of the employee, to deposit disability indemnity payments for the employee in a prepaid card account until Jan. 1, 2023. The bill imposes certain conditions, such as allowing the employee reasonable access to in network ATMs and allowing for withdrawal and purchases without incurring fees. The bill also requires employers to provide aggregated data on their prepaid account programs to the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation upon request and requires CHSWC to issue a report to the Legislature on or before Dec. 1, 2022 regarding payments made to those prepaid card accounts.

PEACE OFFICERS & ACTIVE FIREFIGHTING MEMBERS: Senate Bill 1086

With respect to peace officers and active firefighting members, existing law extends the time period for commencing workers’ comp proceedings to collect death benefits from 240 weeks from the date of injury to no later than 420 weeks from the date of injury, not to exceed one year after the date of death. Pursuant to existing law, this extension of time pertains to injuries, including but not limited to cancer, tuberculosis, or blood-borne infectious diseases and is only operative until January 1, 2019. This bill removes the Jan. 1, 2019 date of repeal.

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Peace Officers Injured At Work

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Officers Injured At Work - Workers' Compensation Lawyers
Police officers take cover behind a vehicle on the street outside the the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds after a active shooter was reported around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

New California Law For Peace Officers Injured At Work Peace Officers Injured

Peace Officers Injured At Work:  Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. has signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1749 into law. AB 1749 clarifies that fully sworn peace officers can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if, while in the midst of pursuit, apprehension, protection or preservation of life or property within or out of the state, the officer suffers injury, disability or death. This is a bill that was introduces as a result of the Las Vegas mass shooting nearly one year ago.  Assembly member Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), Chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee, introduced the bill for peace officers injured at work, regardless of whether they are on duty or not.  This new California Labor Code is a good law for peace officers.  Peace Officers Injured

During the Las Vegas shooting on October 1, 2017, the injured included off-duty peace officers, law enforcement officers, deputy sheriffs, District Attorney investigators and others, who heroically brought themselves and others to safety, then automatically returned to the killing field to save more lives. These sworn law enforcement officers’ training and instincts to save lives immediately kicked in when the gunfire erupted. These members, along with all the other members of law enforcement, are true heroes.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019 and will also apply to the peace officers injured on the job in the Las Vegas shooting last year.  Whether peace officers, law enforcement officers, deputy sheriffs, District Attorney investigators and others, are in state or out of state, these officers are never off duty. The public reasonably expects these officers to act in these situations.  Thus, if they are are injured, are disabled or die as a result, the appropriate remedy should be provided, protection under California Workers’ Compensation Laws.

This is definitely a good thing for California.  We represent many police and safety officers throughout California.  They deserve the very best we have to offer.

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Injured At Work

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I Was Injured At Work

 

I WAS INJURED AT WORK – My doctor says I can’t work right now, so how do I get paid? This is a common question asked by many victims of workplace accidents and injuries. Many of America’s workplaces are incredibly dangerous and injuries are a common occurrence.  According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, one in twenty five workers will suffer a work-related nonfatal injury every single year.    Injured At Work – Consult With An Attorney

Many workplace injuries are minor, resulting in scrapes, bruises, and even paper cuts. However, workplace injuries can also be much more serious problems. In the worst situations, workplace injuries can result in hospitalization and possibly death. Most workers who need to skip work for medical reasons have difficulty making ends meet. If you or a loved one finds yourself injured at work without the ability to bring in an income during recovery, you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney about your options.   Injured At Work – Consult With An Attorney

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a insurance claims process for work related injuries that often involves the insurance company, employer, defense attorney, applicant attorney and of course the court system.  Before workers’ compensation laws came into existence, injured workers had to sue their employers for any work-related injuries that they believed were the fault of the employer. This court-focused system often resulted in unequal outcomes and left many employees without the ability to collect anything until after a lengthy court battle. The workers’ compensation system made it easier for injured employees to pursue job site injury claims by making it easier to file a claim with a separate independent workers’ compensation administrative court rather than a court of law.    Injured At Work – Consult With An Attorney

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation If I Was Injured At Work?

To qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits, an employee must have been injured on the job site while performing a work-related activity, also known as AOE/COE. Unlike in the court system, worker’s compensation victims do not need to prove that the injury was the fault of the employer. Rather, the injured employee needs to prove that the injury occurred on the job while performing your work duties or related work duties.  Injuries that either do not occur on the job site or occur while the injured employee is not performing a work-related activity are generally non-compensable under the workers’ compensation system.  Your should always consult with a workers’ compensation attorney about the specific facts of your case.       Injured At Work – Consult With An Attorney 

What about Medical Bills and Temporary Disability Payments / Benefits If I Was Injured At Work?

The amount of money that you can receive from the workers’ compensation system will depend on many different factors. Most importantly, the cost of any medical bills are generally paid by the insurance company or employer in the workers’ compensation system.  Additionally, you are entitled to temporary disability benefits, two-thirds (2/3) of your salary for the hours of work missed due to the injury.      Injured At Work – Consult With An Attorney

If you have been injured at work, you have a right to workers’ compensation benefits as provided under California law. It is important that you begin plans to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible so that you meet California’s workers’ compensation filing deadline and so that you can preserve evidence of your injury. For more information about your rights to receive workers’ compensation from your employer after an injury, contact an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney.   I  Injured At Work – Consult With An Attorney

 

 

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Can An Injured Worker May be Eligible for a U-Visa?

Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa    Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa   Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

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Can An Injured Worker May be Eligible for a U-Visa?   Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

By Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson
Certified Legal Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law
by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization   Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

Can An Injured Worker May be Eligible for a U-Visa? AN INJURED WORKER MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR LEGAL STATUS (U-VISA) IN THE UNITED STATES AND WCJs MAY HAVE AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN THE PROCESS**

(**Please note that this article is limited to the U Visa. Injured Workers may also be entitled to T Visa benefits)

The issue of “violent acts” and “catastrophic injuries” have been a hot topic of discussion ever since LC 4600.1 came into effect. Essentially, WPI increases are barred for injured workers claiming psych injuries that are compensable consequences of orthopedic injuries. However, if an exception applies, such as a “violent act” or a “catastrophic injury,” the injured worker will be able to obtain an increase in WPI, as well as medical treatment and temporary disability benefits.   Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa    Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

Regardless of whether the applicant is eligible for WPI increases or not, what is not as well-known is that undocumented injured workers can file for legal status (U Visa) in the United States as a result of workplace related criminal activity or violence. The crime or violence does not have to be a violation of the penal code but a violation of administrative rules and regulations. This visa was specifically created to benefit victims of criminal activity or violence, including victims injured on the job. Congress has concluded that the U visa “will strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, and prosecute [crimes] committed against aliens, while offering protection to victims of such offense in keeping with the humanitarian interests of the United States.” Pub. L. No. 106-386, Div. B, Title V, § 1513(a)(1)(A)-(B), Oct. 28, 2000, 114 Stat. §1513(a)(2)(A) (emphasis added)

There are situations where an undocumented worker has been violently injured, victim of a crime or sexual harassment at the workplace. Unfortunately, it is common for these injured workers to refuse to file a claim when this happens, for fear they may lose their jobs, or worse, lose their families and be subject to the wrath of immigration agencies and be deported.

It is important for these injured workers to know that they are eligible to pursue benefits in both the workers’ compensation and immigration systems.

An injured worker may be eligible for a U visa by submitting a certification by a certification entity (Judges [civil, criminal, administrative judges], local law enforcement agencies, any other civil, criminal or administrative authority involved with criminal activities or civil/administrative violations, including, Department of Industrial Relations and labor code violations) that verifies that she was a victim of the criminal activity or violence and is willing , or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime committed against her. See INA § 101(a)(15)(U)(i)(III), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(U)(i)(III). It is crucial to note that a victim may request and receive certification despite lack of a current investigation, the filing of charges, a prosecution or a conviction.

In addition, by signing the I-918 Supplement B certification, a Workers’ Compensation judge is not granting the injured worker a visa to reside legally in the United States. To the contrary, only U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is authorized to issue U visas. The I-918 Supplement B certification is submitted with the U visa application and other supporting documentation to CIS for its review and ultimate determination. In addition to the certification, the victim must also satisfy USCIS that she has satisfied the requirement that she was, is, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of a crime.   Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

In order for USCIS to determine if an injured worker is eligible for a U visa because he/she meets the following requirements in addition to the required certification:

  1. is a victim of one of the enumerated crimes or similar activity, includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the enumerated crimes.
  2. possesses information concerning the criminal activity.
  3. was, is, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crimes against her.
  4. has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crimes.

The enumerated crimes include the following:

  • Abduction
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Felonious Assault
  • Fraud in Foreign Labor Contractin
  • Hostage
  • Incest
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Peonage
  • Perjury
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Slave Trade
  • Stalking
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Witness Tampering
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  • Other Related Crimes*†

*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.
†Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.

Not all WCJs are aware of this process, and may be reluctant to certify the request which is essential for the U-Visa application. Therefore, attorneys should carefully review the procedure for doing so:

  1. File a DOR for a status conference
  2. Alert opposing counsel as to the reason for the conference
  3. Present a mini brief at the conference explaining to the WCJ why they have authority to sign off on this certification.
  4. Prepare the certification form for the WCJ to sign.

COMMON WORKPLACE CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES:

The following are examples of common workplace criminal activities by the employer, coworkers, clients, customers or agents of the employer which can make the injured worker eligible for U Visa certification:

  • Injured worker filed a claim and/or testified about abuse or sexual assault in a court case, including WCAB and employment cases. Potential questions posed to the applicant: Did your employer post posters, drawings, pictures of a sexual nature? Did your employer make comments about clothing/appearance or make sexual jokes or comments? Look at you in a sexual manner? Did your employer ask for sexual favors, ask you to have sex with him/her, spread rumors? Did your employer touch you inappropriately? Force you to have unwanted sex?
  • A housekeeper who has been physically or mentally abused by her employer and/or deprived of her liberty by having her ID or Passport confiscated.
  • Did employer or coworker threaten violence? Did employer or coworker threaten to report applicant’s immigration status?
  • Obstruction of Justice: Attempts to influence, obstruct, or impede ANY pending proceeding through use of threats or force; Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records, including wage/hour records, birth certificates.
  • Witness Tampering: Did an employer ever intimidate or threaten applicant to delay or prevent testimony in any “official proceeding”; Alter, destroy, conceal records? Hinder, delay, or prevent communication to authorities; Threaten to damage property or cause bodily harm to delay or prevent witness participation?

LEGAL AUTHORITY & RESOURCES

  1. The application process and appropriate forms can be found USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.
  2. Judicial Council of California: Expert Guidance on Responding to U Visa and T Visa Certification Requests http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/BTB24-PreCon1E-01.pdf
  3. New California Law on Certifications PC 679.10 U Visa Certifications – Effective January 1, 2016 https://www.ilrc.org/new-california-law-ensures-all-immigrant-crime-victims-california-can-access-u-visa

If you have further questions or inquiries about important immigration and workers’ compensation crossover issues, feel free to contact the author Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson via email at N.Jacobson@rkmlaw.net

© 2018 by Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

Nikki Jacobson, Attorney at Law
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The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
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Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

Nikki Jacobson, Attorney at Law
Certified Specialist, Workers’ Compensation Law
The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Los Angeles Work Injury Lawyer
Workers Comp Consultation
Workers’ Compensation Expert
Los Angeles Attorney for Death Claims
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Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

 

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Injured Worker Immigration U-Visa

TBI Traumatic Brain Injuries

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TBI TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

TBI Traumatic Brain Injuries at work are more common than you think.   California Workers’ Compensation provides financial and medical benefits to injured workers who are not able to work due to his or her injuries.

For injured employees to receive worker’s compensation for any type of injury, they must have sustained an injury while carrying out their job duties. Those who suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) on the job face special challenges in navigating the complicated WC system.

If you are injured at work in any way, your employer should be notified immediately. Brain injuries are unpredictable. What seems like mild bump on the head today can become a major problem in the future. The first step to protecting your rights is reporting the injury.

For someone who suffers from a mild TBI, there are a number of potential consequences. Those who survive the injury may experience changes in personality, slurred speech, vision problems, memory loss, lack of coordination, aphasia, irritability, reduced concentration, and vertigo.

People who suffer from severe TBI often incur astronomic costs in order to recover, including lengthy hospital stays that are frequently longer than a week, extensive rehabilitation costs, medication costs, and at times a personal caregiver or nurse and vocational re-training.

The total cost of a serious brain injury can exceed six figures in the first year. Your physician will provide a diagnosis and document your potential for recovery and expected course of treatment.

If you were seriously injured at work and suffer from TBI, do not hesitate to contact our office for help. We can make sure you have all of the appropriate paperwork, forms and medical records, minimizing problems with your WC claim. We will also advocate for you with the insurance company, making sure you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled.

 

 

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TBI TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

How Is My Work Injury Case Resolved or Settled?

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How Is My Work Injury Case Resolved or Settled?

How Is My Work Injury Case Resolved or Settled?  Your work injury case is resolved when there is an agreement between you and the claims administrator or a judge issues an order about your workers’ compensation payments and future medical care that will be provided to you. In order to protect your rights, whether or not you are represented by an attorney, settlements must be reviewed by a workers’ compensation administrative law judge, to determine whether they are adequate.  work injury case resolved settled

My Work Injury Case Is Being Resolved or Settled.  What types of settlements are there?

There are two different ways to settle your case:  work injury case resolved settled

  • Stipulations with Request for Award (stips)
    • Payments – You and the claims administrator agree on the amount of temporary or permanent disability payments you will receive. This is usually paid in weekly payments
    • Medical care – The claims administrator usually agrees to pay for medical care if needed.
  • Compromise and Release (C&R)
    • One payment – The claims administrator agrees on an amount to resolve your claim. This is usually paid in a lump sum
    • Medical care – If the lump sum includes the estimated cost of future medical care, the claims administrator will no longer pay your doctor. This becomes your responsibility.

What if my case doesn’t settle?  work injury case resolved settled

If you and the claims administrator are unable to agree on a settlement, your dispute will need to be decided by a workers’ compensation judge.

Want to learn more? Find it in the guidebook

 

 

 

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Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson, Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law
by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Professor of Law
Legal Analyst