Being injured on the job is never an easy experience for you. Depending on the severity of your injury, your life could be dramatically impacted by your injury, and it may take you years of therapy and medical treatment in order to recover.
When you are injured, you rely on the workers’ compensation system in order to get the help you need. Called the Great Compromise, workers’ compensation provides you with the right to receive medical care from your employer if you are injured while at work during the performance of your work duties.
However, what happens when the system is not working the way that it is intended, and you are struggling to get the help you need? For many, workers’ compensation claims are taking longer than ever to complete.
Employees are waiting longer to get their claims settled
In a recent report by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, it was revealed that the average duration of 90% of California workers’ compensation claims is about 7 years. This means that for the vast majority of workers, it will take around 7 years for their case to fully wrap up.
This is a significantly higher length of time than what workers in other states experience. Across the United States, the median duration for workers is about 3 years for their workers’ compensation claim to be completed.
Why are claims taking so long?
The report identifies four primary causes for why workers are waiting so long for their claims to be completed.
First, a larger share of workers in California are suffering permanent partial disability after their accidents, nearly double the median national rate. These cases take much longer to process and can bog down the system.
The second contributing factor is a greater share of cumulative trauma claims in which workers have sustained multiple serious injuries. These cases can lead to longer claims due to litigation over the medical treatment.
The third factor noted that regional differences within California lead to a change in how long cases can take, with claims in Los Angeles Basis noted as having a much longer duration than other parts of the state.
Lastly, the final factor highlighted for this phenomenon is the increasing number of claims involving medical-legal reports. Particularly in claim involving partial permanent disability or cumulative trauma, sometimes as many as four medical-legal reports may be generated throughout the claim.
Is there anything you can do?
Unfortunately, these factors are mostly outside of your control when you are going through your workers’ compensation claim. The extent of your injuries and the potential treatments needed for you to heal will have a significant role on how long your claim will take.
The best thing you can do is to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who has experience with your type of claim, as they will be able to help you navigate your claim. You can learn what your options are and how you can proceed with your workers’ compensation claim.