Calif. Considering Workers’ Comp Law (SB1023) That Could Penalize Insurers

Calfiornia lawmakers are consdering dozens of bills in their final two weeks of this year’s legislative session.

Among the measures that advanced on Monday was SB1023, which proponents say would punish companies that deny proper payments to insured workers. If passed, the bill would allow injured employees who have to go to court to get workers’ compensation payments to collect a penalty from the insurer .

“This bill simply helps those workers who already have been through the (workers’ compensation) process,” said Assemblyman Juan Vargas, D-San Diego.

Opponents said it is too soon to alter a workers’ comp law that took effect only last year.

There already are penalties for companies that have a pattern of violations, said Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta. The pending bill could cost employers up to $10,000, he said, “penalizing employers for small technical violations.”

The initial bill was approved by the Assembly by a 43-27 vote. The amended bill now goes back to the Senate.