By Robert T. Reville
Systemically evaluates the California everlasting incapacity rankings approach used ahead of the state's contemporary workers repayment.
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Additional resources for An Evaluation of California's Permanent Disability Rating System
However, as a general rule, it likely that litigation improves benefits for an individual injured worker and thus could have a positive effect on the adequacy and equity of the system (although equity might not be improved if there is an uneven distribution of the availability of quality legal representation). Nevertheless, the permanent disability rating is intended as an administrative replacement to the determination of benefits through adversarial advocacy. Given the rating, the adequacy is then set by statute.
1. RAND studies are not the only ones to highlight the poor return-to-work outcomes in California. A study by the Work Loss Data Institute (WLDI, 2003) ranks states by the duration of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits (with lower rankings indicating more time out of work) and ranks California 42nd out of 44 jurisdictions. These results highlight the fundamental problem with the California workers’ compensation system—it has been failing both employers and injured workers. This problem has left policymakers in California with a considerable challenge: finding ways to reduce the cost of workers’ compensation for employers while improving the long-term economic prospects of California’s injured workers.
A greater reliance on the use of objective factors could lead to reductions in the extent of inconsistency in physicians’ assessments, if ratings under the AMA Guides truly are more objective. However, the differences across the three regions of the state lead to some questions about the extent to which the rating system is the root cause of inconsistencies between physicians’ assessments. Another reform in SB 899 is the adoption of a two-tier system, which provides higher benefits to workers who do not receive an offer of post-injury employment when they are medically able to return to work.
An Evaluation of California's Permanent Disability Rating System by Robert T. Reville