Age and How it May Affect an Injury Claim
Last week the California legislature amended proposed Senate Bill 788 to eliminate language that would have prohibited apportioning permanent disability to non-industrial causes based on a worker’s age or genetic characteristics. Initially, the bill included prohibiting apportionment upon said age related and genetic factors, which would have offered a tremendous benefit to our older injured workers. Specifically, the initial bill proposed adding language to Labor Code Section 4663, which would have read, “The approximate percentage of the permanent disability caused by other factors shall not include consideration of race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sex, sexual identity, sexual orientation or genetic characteristics.” Now, the proposed amended bill includes all of the aforementioned with the exception of the age and genetic characteristic factors. In reality, “age related degenerative changes” is most often the go-to apportionment factor when physicians feel they must offset an injured worker’s disability award in order to appease the defense, whether warranted or not. It is unfortunate that the legislature once again refused to address this often perplexing issue of reducing awards provided to our injured workers simply because they are older.
If you would like an opportunity to further discuss the issue of age and how it may affect an injury claim that you or a co-worker are contemplating pursuing, please do not hesitate in contacting the experts at Baziak & Steevens to answer all of your Workers’ Compensation inquiries.