Calif. Legislature Addresses Workers’ Comp Measures

September 1, 2010

The California Legislature took action on several workers’ compensation measures recently, passing bills that, among others, would extend death benefits until the youngest child reaches 19 if the parent died while serving in certain law enforcement services (AB 1696); and require a physician who conducts a utilization review of workers’ compensation medical treatment to be licensed in California (AB 933).

According to AB1696 text, children under age 19 can receive workers’ compensation death benefits if the parent died while on duty as a specified law enforcement officer or during firefighting services.

Additionally, AB 2253 presumes that cancer is assumed to be a compensable injury among active firefighting members of certain state and local fire departments and certain peace officers, and therefore should be compensable even after employment is terminated.

Existing law establishes a presumption that the cancer for these special officers is presumed to arise out of, and in the course of, employment, unless proven otherwise. AB 2253 extends the presumption to a member following termination of service for a period of three calendar months for each full year of the requisite service, but not to exceed 120 months in any circumstance, commencing with the last date actually worked in the specified capacity. Previously, the law said the presumption could not exceed 60 months in any circumstance.

These bills, and others acted on in the last month of the 2009-2010 legislative session, are awaiting the governor’s signature.

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