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Patrick DeBlase
Patrick DeBlase
Attorney •

Workers' Compensation Carriers Reaping Windfall Profits at the Expense of Workers, Employers

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Despite huge windfall profits at the expense of injured workers, Callifornia’s workers’ compensation carriers are still shortchanging applicants on accepted injury claims. A class action lawsuit by Kiesel, Boucher & Larson, LLP seeks to restore injured workers their appropriate benefits under the law.

In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger pushed sweeping changes to the workers’ compensation laws which resulted in severly limiting injured workers’ rights to compensation for work-related injuries. It appears the result has been a boon for workers’ compensation carriers in California. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, claims have fallen 28% in the past two years and medical care and disability payments to injured workers have dropped 37% in the same period.

Carriers have seen their bottom line improve exponentially.

“… in 2005 insurers posted profits conservatively estimated at $4.3 billion. Profits in 2004 were $3.6 billion. The trend continues to be positive this year, according to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, an industry-backed statistical service.”

You would think the insurance carriers would be satisfied with such profits. Alas, billions are not enough. Carriers have taken to nickel and diming injured workers for years by failing to timely pay the full amount of workers’ compensation benefits when such benefits are due on accepted injury claims. These are claims where the carriers do not dispute the workplace injury nor amount that should be paid. Carriers simply routinely underpay and fail to timely pay such benefits and by cheating injured workers in such a manner, steal millions from those who can ill afford it.

Kiesel, Boucher & Larson, LLP has been fighting the battle for such injured workers since 2001 in a case called Hablian v. Zurich. The applicants in this case seek to represent a class of injured workers who have been shortchanged – many times unknowingly – in these accepted injury claims. The defendants in the case, which constitute all of the major workers’ compensation carriers in California, have, over these many years, bitterly fought applicants in this case at every turn. Indeed, they have taken their objections of this case to the California Court of Appeals as well as the California Supreme Court. Thankfully, both of these Courts have rejected defendants’ recent appeals and the case may now move forward in the Workers’ Compensation forum.