Workers Compensation Facts

Workers who file claims for permanent partial disabilities in job-related accidents at the largest firms in California recover less than half of their injury-related wage losses during the first five years after injury, according to a report released 8-30-01 by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.1

Researchers found that claimants at these firms had average total wage losses of $39,500 but received only $19,000 in workers` compensation benefits. 2

Tom Rankin, President of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, argues that: "The study findings are clear on the desperate need for a benefit increase. Even at the best firms in California, wage replacement rates are unacceptably low. 3

CA ranks 49th out of 50 states in PPD benefit levels for most injured workers. 4

Industrial injuries are at the lowest rate in 24 years. 5

The number of claims have plummeted for eight straight years to a record low in 1998 -- decreasing nearly 40 per cent since 1990. 6

Workers` compensation costs as a percentage of payroll are at the lowest level in 25 years -- less than 2 per cent of payroll, and more than 50 per cent lower than in 1993. 7

Insurers have paid out the same amount in total benefits for the past five years despite inflation and expanding employment rates. 8

Insurers` surplus has more than doubled since 1992.
Workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own will fall below the national poverty guideline for a family of three ($281/week). 10

California’s unemployment benefits rank last in the country. In 1999, at $155, our average weekly benefit replaced only 23% of the average weekly wage—the worst replacement rate in the nation. 11

The maximum weekly benefit, just $230, has not increased since Governor Deukmejian signed legislation in 1989. Only Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota and Arizona pay lower maximum benefits. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia pay higher maximum weekly benefits. 12

1 “Compensation for Worker Injuries Found Similar at Large and Small Firms,” The Rand Institute for Civil Justice, August 30, 2000.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 California Workers` Compensation Fast Facts, California Applicants’ Attorney Association,
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.
10 “Legislative Fact Sheet 2001,” California Labor Federation AFL-CIO,
11 Ibid.
12 Ibid.