AIA: Applicant Attorneys Workers’ Comp Study is Flawed

December 23, 2004

A new study commissioned by the California Applicant Attorney Association (CAAA) is seriously defective, and just another part of their relentless campaign to undermine implementation of recently enacted workers’ compensation reforms, said the American Insurance Association (AIA). CAAA’s study, entitled Differences in Workers’ Compensation Ratings, appears to compare final disability ratings developed under the old permanent disability rating system against impairment ratings generated under the California Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC) proposed new permanent disability rating schedule. The study was financed by a CAAA grant.

“CAAA’s flawed study is just another attempt to discredit true and valuable reforms, and stop scheduled implementation of critical regulations,” said Ken Gibson, AIA vice president of state affairs. “This defective study claims the new proposed rating system will dramatically lower disability ratings for injured workers – and that is just not the case.”

“CAAA knowingly compared apples to oranges in order to rig the results, and generate the findings they wanted,” Gibson said. “Their study appears to compare disability ratings developed under the old system with impairment ratings under the new system. An impairment rating is simply one step in the calculation of a disability rating in the proposed new system, and is not an accurate indicator of the benefits a worker will receive. If the CAAA had compared final disability rating under the old system with final disability ratings under the proposed system, they would have found far smaller differences between the two approaches.”

“CAAA also used biased data in their study,” Gibson said. “Instead of randomly selecting claims to review, CAAA had their members search through their files for particular claims to use. These claims were highly complicated and not representative of the system as a whole. Finally, CAAA’s sponsored study only used disability ratings developed by one disability rater. Using decisions by only one rater inevitably produces biased results. Any given rater is likely to produce results that differ from what all raters combined produce. CAAA’s study made no effort to adjust for the bias of a single rater. Clearly, CAAA’s study should be ignored. It is just one more of their selfish attempts to roll back real reform, because they don’t want to stop profiting from the old system’s gross inefficiencies.”

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