California’s workers’ compensation laws are fairly strict and tend to favor employees. In some states,…
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California recently released its annual WCIRB Geo Study. This study serves to highlight the differences between various characteristics of workers’ compensation claims in regions throughout California.
The report’s findings are worth exploring in greater detail for anyone with an interest in this topic. Readers of this blog may be particularly interested to learn that, according to the WCIRB, in 2022, claims were significantly more common in the Los Angeles Basin area than in many other regions across the state. This is true even after regional differences in industries and wages have been controlled for.
It’s not yet clear why this is. The report does point out that in regions where claim frequency increased at high rates, claim frequency specifically among new hires also increased. This may indicate (although this isn’t confirmed) that a large number of employers hired new workers in the Los Angeles area in recent years. This may have contributed to the high rate of workers’ compensation claims. Research does routinely show that new workers are more likely to be injured on-the-job than experienced ones.
Additionally, the report includes details regarding the degree to which cumulative trauma, COVID-19, and other such factors have played a role in claim frequency. Perhaps claims were more common in Los Angeles because, being a highly-populated urban area, it felt the effects of the pandemic more greatly than others.
Again, this is all speculation. Further research will need to be conducted to determine why claim frequency increased so substantially in the Los Angeles Basin area relative to other parts of California.
It’s also worth noting that the claims which increased in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas were typically indemnity claims. Indemnity benefits are the workers’ compensation benefits which specifically serve to compensate employees for loss of income when an injury or illness prevents them from working. This means there’s a high likelihood that numerous workers across the area had to stay home from work for periods of time after being injured or developing illnesses.
Once more, these are new findings, and it is therefore impossible to conclude with absolute certainty what factors explain this trend.
Insurers will almost certainly wish to know why claims are becoming more common in the Los Angeles Basin. Although workers’ compensation insurance carriers are technically responsible for paying benefits to claimants when they’ve been injured in work-related accidents or developed health conditions due to their work, in reality, insurance companies sometimes strive to avoid paying claimants when possible. They’ll want to know what’s behind these developments.
In the meantime, if you’ve been injured at work in or around Los Angeles, and you plan on filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits accordingly, strongly consider enlisting the help of a legal professional who understands how insurance companies protect themselves. Our Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorneys at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry are on hand to provide the representation you deserve. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at 818-812-5639.
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