Cedar Rapids, IA (PRWEB) October 05, 2012
On September 18th, 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bi-partisan bill that reduces workers’ compensation costs for businesses in California, while also increasing the benefits for people who were injured on the job. It is estimated that the bill will save businesses in California close to $1 billion in the upcoming year and it also allows for increased payments to disabled workers. However, the bill limits litigation, a limit which will allow fewer benefits for people who are unable to return to work.
The bill, SB863, would change how benefits are calculated for injured workers in California. It also creates a binding arbitration process to resolve coverage disputes and eliminates coverage for conditions that most commonly resulted in lawsuits in the past. These conditions include issues like insomnia and mental health disorders.
One major issue opponents have with SB863 is that the bill restricts the ability of an injured worker to access certain medical treatments and it also restricts compensation if a worker is permanently injured. More importantly, permanently disabled workers will not be able to return to work at the same pay grade.
Iowans can expect to see very few, if any, changes to the current Iowa workers’ compensation laws. That said, the old adage in politics – as California goes, so goes the nation – is in full effect. James P Hoffman is an attorney based in Iowa who specializes in workers compensation law, personal injury, and social security disability, who can help you navigate these changes. Currently, the laws in Iowa are slated to stay the same, but there are still compensation issues Iowa is overcoming. A pressing one: wage theft
According to the Iowa Policy Project, non-injured Iowans may be losing as much as $600 million each year due to wage theft. Issues such as nonpayment of wages, tipped job violations, and improperly classified employers are literally adding up to the millions.
The case cited by the Iowa Policy Project was that of Henry’s Turkey Service, located in Atalissa. Henry’s Turkey Service hired developmentally disabled workers in jobs at West Liberty Foods, a West Liberty turkey processor.
Henry’s collected from the wages and Social Security disability payments; in return, the men were paid a $65 monthly stipend that did not vary for hours worked or overtime. Monthly deductions were taken for room and board and “kind care.” There were no written authorizations for the deductions and eventually these unscrupulous business practices resulted in 9,000 separate violations and a $1 million fine. The Department of Labor added another $1.7 million to the fine for unpaid wages and penalties.
If a worker was injured on the job, denied benefits, or is having difficulty with Social Security, he should consider taking legal action. A lawyer that is well-versed in the principles of Iowa workers’ compensation and personal injury law can get the rewards and benefits an injured party is entitled to. An inexperienced lawyer, in contrast, may fall short.