An Evaluation of California's Permanent Disability Rating by Robert T. Reville

By Robert T. Reville

Systemically evaluates the California everlasting incapacity scores approach used ahead of the state's contemporary workers repayment.

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Extra info for An Evaluation of California's Permanent Disability Rating System

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The National Commission also recommended that beneficiaries in permanent total disability cases have their benefits increased through time in the same proportion as increases in the state’s average weekly wage. If a similar degree of protection were provided for permanent partial disability as for permanent total disability, then after the date of MMI, the PPD benefits should replace two-thirds of the difference between the worker’s potential earnings (the earnings that a worker would have earned had he or she not been injured) and the worker’s actual earnings.

Portions of this discussion were reported previously in Berkowitz and Burton (1987). In the remainder of this report, we refer to the permanent disability rating system that existed prior to SB 899 as the “rating system” or the “California system,” because it was unique to California. In fact, the new permanent disability rating system also is unique to California. ” Overview and History of the California Rating System The California approach to determining the extent of permanent partial disability has traditionally been unusual, if not unique, among American workers’ compensa____________ 1 More extensive discussions on this subject are in Welch (1973, chapter titled “Permanent Disability Evaluation”), Welch (1964), and the California Senate Interim Committee (1953, Part I).

This problem has left policymakers in California with a considerable challenge: finding ways to reduce the cost of workers’ compensation for employers while improving the long-term economic prospects of California’s injured workers. High Rates of Litigation One factor driving higher costs in California has been the adversarial nature of the workers’ compensation system. Boden, Reville, and Biddle (2005) show that in California at least 30 percent of workers with eight or more days out of work eventually hire an attorney to represent them—twice the percentage as in Oregon, the state with the next-highest percentage of workers who hire attorneys.

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