2023 Work Injury Law Updates & Revisions in California

Workers Compensation Lawyer in Sacramento

Workers Compensation Lawyer in Sacramento

California Workers’ Compensation 2023 Changes

Recent changes in California’s Workers’ Compensation laws for 2023 include several significant updates aimed at providing better protection and benefits for injured workers:

  • Increased Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits: The maximum weekly benefit for TTD increased from $1,539.71 to $1,619.15, and the minimum from $230.95 to $242.86. These benefits are tax-free and continue until the employee reaches maximum medical improvement or is able to return to work.
  • Revised Definition of “Serious Injury”: The definition has been updated to include injuries requiring inpatient hospitalization (excluding medical observation or diagnostic testing), amputation, loss of an eye, or serious permanent disfigurement. It excludes injuries caused by accidents on public streets or highways unless in a construction zone.
  • Extension of COVID-19 Presumption: The COVID-19 presumption under California’s workers’ compensation law has been extended until January 1, 2024. This presumption makes it easier for employees with COVID-19 related illness to receive workers’ compensation.
  • Coverage for All Workers: Employers are now required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to all employees, irrespective of their work hours, with few exceptions like independent contractors or immediate family members in a family-owned business.
  • Streamlined Appeals Process: The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) has implemented changes to allow for remote hearings, electronic filings, and electronic service, making the appeals process more accessible.
  • Changes for Licensed Contractors: Certain licensed contractors are now required to secure workers’ compensation insurance regardless of whether they have employees, with this requirement expanding to all contractors by 2026.
  • Senate Bill 1127: This bill, effective from January 2023, includes changes to temporary disability benefits. Notably, it increases the duration of temporary total disability benefits for certain public safety employees, such as firefighters and peace officers, in cases of cancer-related injuries. These employees are now eligible for up to 240 weeks of benefits.
  • Potential Future Developments: Ongoing discussions and potential future changes may involve reforms in benefit increases, procedural reforms, and various regulatory activities on topics like Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule updates, formulary updates, and changes to Medical-Legal Fee Schedule.

These changes reflect California’s continued commitment to adapting its workers’ compensation system to the evolving needs of the workforce, ensuring fairness and efficiency in handling work injury cases.

California Workers’ Compensation 2024 Changes

For the year 2024, there will be no changes to California’s minimum and maximum temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent total disability (PTD) rates for work injuries. This decision comes after the U.S. Department of Labor’s data showed a slight decrease of 0.48 percent in California’s State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) from $1,650 to $1,642 in the 12 months ending March 31, 2023. Consequently, the maximum TTD/PTD rate will remain at $1,619.15 per week and the minimum at $242.86 per week, as established for 2023 job injuries.

Also, there will be no annual cost of living adjustments to life pension and PTD payments on existing claims with injury dates on or after January 1, 2003. Additionally, the maximum rate for death benefit installment payments, which are paid in the same manner and amount as TTD, will remain unchanged. However, for certain older claims eligible for more than 104 weeks of TTD (e.g., claims involving amputations, hepatitis, or certain long-term injuries), there might be an increase in 2024 based on the current maximum rates if those rates are justified by the worker’s earnings at the time of injury.

Workers Compensation Lawyer in Sacramento

Sacramento Workers Compensation Attorney
Have you been seriously injured on the job in Sacramento? Mehlhop & Vogt Law Offices is here to help. As experienced Sacramento workers compensation attorneys, we understand the challenges you face and are ready to provide the expert legal support you need. Don’t navigate this alone; call us at (916) 930-9675 and let’s ensure your rights are fully protected.