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California Senate Says Yes To Workers’ Comp Survivor Extension

By Kenton Koszdin Law Office on May 5, 2014 | In Workers Compensation Claims

The California Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee recently approved a measure that would give families of firefighters and police officers more time to file for workers’ compensation survivor benefits in cases of death that resulted from cancer, tuberculosis or other diseases presumed to be industrially caused.

The California Legislature passed a similar bill last year, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed it. The Governor cited cost uncertainties as being the main reason behind the veto.

The current statute of limitations for families of public officers to file for survivor death benefits under these circumstances is 240 weeks from time of diagnosis. The proposed measure would increase that time to 480 weeks.

Supporters of the measure maintain that medical technology has improved vastly over the years, which allows afflicted officers to survive these illnesses longer before succumbing. Currently, the families of these workers cannot file for workers comp death benefits if their loved one has died after the 240-week limit.

Those opposed to AB 1373 say that extending the statute of limitations in these cases would place a financial burden on cities and public agencies that could last well into the future. They are concerned that there are too many unknowns; such as how many more claims might arise as a result of the extension. They also contend this would create a nightmare for actuaries who would have to set aside high reserves in order to make those payments.

Currently, death benefit claims run between $250,000 to $320,000 in California depending on the number of dependents.

The Kenton Koszdin Law Office will be watching the development of this legislation with great interest. If you have questions concerning your legal rights when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, don’t hesitate to call us toll-free at (800) 438-7734. We offer in-home consultations and your case review is always free.

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