Brown's Last Legislative Session Features Bills on Apportionment, Breast Cancer, and Peace Officers

by John P. Kamin (August 14, 2018)

Legislation targeting apportionment to nonindustrial genetic factors, janitorial services, peace officers, and breast cancer claims are headlining Gov. Jerry Brown’s last legislative session as he prepares to leave office.

The longtime governor is being term-limited out, and is heading for greener pastures. And I mean that literally – according to this 60 Minutes profile a few months ago, Brown intends to retire to his sprawling ranch in Northern California.

After the legislative session ends on August 31, Gov. Brown will have up to 30 days to sign or veto bills that were approved by lawmakers. Unless those bills are “emergency” legislation, they will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Currently the most important bill that is pending at the moment is Senate Bill 899, which would prohibit doctors from using race, gender, or national origin in determining the percentage of permanent disability caused by factors before and after an industrial injury.

“To Heir Is Human”: Applicant’s Death During a Workers Compensation Claims

by Michael P. Burns (August 8, 2018)

When an applicant dies during a worker’s compensation claim, insurers need to be aware of the requirements for resolving the case. The first misconception is that applicant’s death ends a case. Without a living injured worker, why should benefits be paid? The answer is not as clear as it seems.

Labor Code §4700 states that the death of an injured employee does not affect defendant’s liability for industrial injuries. It also provides that “neither temporary nor permanent disability payments shall be made for any period of time subsequent to the death of the employee.” Thus, the death of an applicant stops payment of indemnity to an applicant. Instead, any “accrued and unpaid” compensation must be paid to an applicant’s dependents. If there are no dependents, they are paid to the personal representative of the deceased applicant, their heirs, or other persons entitled to these benefits. This payment is made without administration (e.g., without the need for probate).