Pregnancy and Childbirth Should Not Be Used Against Women In Work Injury Claims

Women injured at work have many unique issues related to their disability and apportionment related matters.  All workers’ compensation attorneys and their client should be aware and cautious how doctors and other professionals address these issues.  Congratulations to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher for introducing Assembly Bill 570 which aims to prevent pregnancy, childbirth – or conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth – from being used against workers when addressing apportionment and the cause of disability in a workers’ compensation claim.

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE – 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION – ASSEMBLY BILL No. 570

Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez Fletcher on February 14, 2017

An act to amend Section 4663 of the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 570, as introduced, Gonzalez Fletcher. Workers’ compensation: permanent disability apportionment.

Existing workers’ compensation law generally requires employers to secure payment of workers’ compensation, including medical treatment, for injuries incurred by their employees that arise out of, or in the course of, employment. An employer is liable only for the percentage of the permanent disability directly caused by the injury arising out of, and occurring in the course of, employment.

Existing law requires apportionment of permanent disability to be based on causation, and a physician who prepares a report addressing the issue of permanent disability due to a claimed industrial injury is required to address the issue of causation of the permanent disability. Existing law requires the physician to make an apportionment determination by finding the approximate percentage of the permanent disability that was caused by the direct result of injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment, and the approximate percentage of the permanent disability that was caused by other factors both before and subsequent to the industrial injury, including prior industrial injuries.

This bill would prohibit apportionment, in the case of a physical injury occurring on or after January 1, 2018, from being based on pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Nikki Jacobson, Attorney at Law, Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist, By The California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, Los Angeles Work Injury & Immigration Lawyer