HR Management & Compliance

Workers’ Compensation: CA High Court Hands Employers Big Victory

The California Supreme Court has handed down a ruling that could save employers and their insurers hundreds of millions of dollars in workers’ compensation benefits.

In the new case, the high court considered whether the 2004 workers’ compensation reforms altered the manner in which permanent disability benefits are calculated when a previous injury—work-related or not—contributes to the permanent disability.

The employees in the case argued that the language of the revised workers’ comp statutes required a new formula that would result in higher benefits. But the court ruled that the formula in use prior to the reforms remains valid in these “apportionment” cases. This formula, which is more favorable to employers, ensures that employers are only required to compensate injured workers for the portion of a permanent disability that is attributable to the current work-related injury, but not for any portion caused by previous injuries or non-workplace factors.

We’ll have full details on the high court’s decision in an upcoming issue of the California Employer Advisor.

Join us this fall in San Francisco for the California Employment Law Update conference, a 3-day event that will teach you everything you need to know about new laws and regulations, and your compliance obligations, for the year ahead—it’s one-stop shopping at its best.

Additional Resources:

Brodie v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Calif. Supreme Court No. S147030, 2007


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