California Workers' Comp Inadequate for Police, Report Says

Posted By Thomas F. Martin, PLC || 28-Sep-2016

California’s workers’ compensation system was established to quickly provide injured employees and workers with medical care, all in hopes of helping them recover and, of course, get back to work. An investigative report conducted by NBC4 I-Team revealed that if you are an injured police officer, your wait might for compensation might be a little longer than expected. In some cases, wounded officers have their claims denied, making it unknown if they will ever receive the treatment necessary to heal.

The source of the troubles affecting police officers up and down California seems to stem from a third-party companies that are often hired to handle workers’ compensation claims on behalf of cities and counties. Rather than the Department of Industrial Relations Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) directly overseeing police officer claims, another business reviews them and, more or less, controls approvals and denials. Even if these third-party companies were as efficient as possible, it is still an extra step in a system that is already meant to be speedbump-free.

Claim Volume Could Also Be an Issue

A city controller told the investigative reporters that the number of annual workers’ compensation claims filed with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) equal to about 33% of the total number of officers; some may file one claim, others multiple, and others still none at all. The cost for handling all of those claims is close to $100 million each fiscal year. The city controller went on to explain 19 out of 20 police workers’ comp claims filed from the LAPD would be accepted without incident; however, that still accounts hundreds of delayed or denied claims each year.

As the report pointed out, leaving a police officer waiting for medical treatment is tragic in more way than one. Not only does that individual officer suffer needlessly as they await for prescription medications, surgeries, and other treatments, but the community suffers overall since there is one less officer on the streets. It may be necessary for an overhaul of California’s workers’ compensation system to occur if claims are to be handled in a more-efficient manner.

For more information regarding this story, you can visit the article posted by NBC4 by clicking here. If you need help with a workers’ compensation claim of your own, contact Thomas F. Martin, PLC and our Santa Ana & Orange County workers’ comp attorney today.

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