The number of Californians who need medical evaluations after on-the-job injuries have risen. Unfortunately, the number of approved medical evaluators who can review these cases has dropped, according to an audit of California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation. At Koszdin, Fields & Sherry, our Los Angeles workers compensation attorneys want to discuss what this means for California workers and how it can affect your claim. We are dedicated to helping injured workers receive the compensation they are entitled to.
Why are there delays for injured workers?
The California Division of Workers’ Compensation has never faced in audit before – until now. The audit has found that a lack of expert doctors, known as Qualified Medical Evaluators, has led to injured California workers waiting months or even years to receive the medical evaluations they need in order to get treatment and determine how disabled they are as a result of their injury.
The State Auditor said that the Division of Workers’ Compensation:
- Failed to address their shortage of medical experts (there were 2,800 medical evaluators for the 2017-2018 year and 100,000 new requests for evaluations during that year).
- Inappropriately disciplined doctors for alleged overbilling by not reappointing them, violating their due process for these situations.
- Did not ensure that evaluators’ reports meet quality standards as “accurate incomplete.”
The California legislature is about to get involved. A bill is expected to be heard in committee this month that would require the agency to increase pay for medical evaluators based on inflation since 2006, which was the last year medical evaluators received a pay raise. This bill would also provide regular raises as a way to keep and attract doctors in the workers’ compensation system.
How do waits affect workers?
When injured workers have to wait long periods of time before being evaluated, their health will likely suffer and their condition could worsen. Injured workers without assistance could lose financial stability due to a lack of compensation for their medical bills and lost income.
Workers typically require an evaluation when their employer disputes whether or not the injury is work-related or if the worker feels that they need more treatment for their injury. Medical evaluators also provide a second opinion regarding temporary or permanent disabilities that would be covered by workers’ compensation.
Our team is ready to help you through this
If you or somebody you love has been injured at work but are struggling to get the compensation you deserve, seek legal assistance today. At Koszdin, Fields & Sherry, our qualified and experienced team understands that this is a difficult time for you, and we want to help secure the compensation you need. This can include:
- Coverage of all medical bills related to the workplace accident
- Any lost income and benefits (including back pay)
- Coverage of any lost future earnings
- Compensation for loss of earning potential