That was the "Word on the Industry" that WorkCompCentral editors decided what best describes California workers' compensation at present.
It was the theme of my opening presentation at the WorkCompCentral Comp Laude Awards and Gala Saturday at the Sheraton LAX Gateway hotel where I summarized this comprehensive "story behind the story."
About 350 people from the industry, or affected by the industry, attended to hear not only the Word, but to hear panelists Christine Baker, Mitch Seaman, Sean McNally, Robert Rassp, and Bill Zachry discuss and debate SB 863, its status and whether it was meeting expectations (James Butler unfortunately was unable to participate because of an untimely injury).
A 2012 Workers’ Compensation Research Institute study found that nearly 30% of injured workers in California hired an attorney. That's more than any other state except for Tennessee and Maryland, and those systems aren't even close in size or expense.
The California Workers' Compensation Institute found that permanent disability claims filed between 2005 and 2010 were more than twice as expensive when lawyers were involved. Average cash and medical payments for permanent disability claims increased to $61,092 with an attorney involved, compared to $24,874 without a lawyer.
Attorney participation in claims has been growing.
In 2003 the CWCI found that attorneys were involved in 76.2% of all permanent disability and 29.9% of all indemnity cases. In 2014...