Court Case Endangers State Workers' Comp System

 Seal of the Supreme Court of California

Seal of the Supreme Court of California

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of California's (IIABCal) Legislative Update, a compilation of reports produced by IIABCal Lobbyist John Norwood of Norwood & Associates, recently published an update on the possible effects of a court case on the Workers' Compensation System.

Below is an excerpt from the February 6, 2017 Legislative Update article:

The California Chamber of Commerce recently filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a California Supreme Court case that will determine whether doctors who review workers' comp cases can be sued for certain medical decisions. 
The brief in King v. CompPartners, Inc argues that the appellate court incorrectly found that utilization review doctors - those who look at records to decide whether a worker's treatment was appropriate, but do not examine the patient personally - have established a physician-patient relationship and therefore owe a duty of care to the injured workers.
Major Implications
If allowed to stand, the decision will create extensive future litigation and can be expected to increase costs that will put upward pressure on malpractice premium rates for all physicians, and have a chilling effect on utilization review physicians, according to the CalChamber. 
Establishing potentially unlimited liability for utilization review physicians will potentially lead to higher premiums for employers and could drive future and existing business away from California. 
The case also will determine whether medical malpractice claims against utilization review doctors are barred, because all workers' compensation claims are under the purview of the state Division of Workers Compensation. National and statewide insurer groups joined the CalChamber on the brief.