Treatment of San Bernadino Shooting Victims Highlight Workers Comp Problems

Workers’ Comp Denied for San Bernadino Victims

We’ve just passed the one-year anniversary of the horrific shooting that killed 14 San Bernadino government employees – and wounded 22 more. As we all tragically recall, an armed San Bernardino County employee and his wife mounted the attack on his co-workers at a County employee holiday event on Dec. 2, 2016.

At the time, the San Bernadino County officials were unified and vocal in their message of support for their workers. Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos announced at a memorial in January that: “The events . . . have drawn us closer together and rebounded our commitment to take care of one another.”

But a year later, some of the San Bernadino County victims are still having difficulties collecting their workers’ compensation benefits for the physical and psychological injuries sustained in the attack. At a recent public meeting, these employees described how the county-administered workers’ compensation program had routinely delayed and denied needed medication and treatments.

San Bernadino Workers’ Comp Denials Highlight a Broken System

These delays and denials – of such clearly deserving workers’ compensation applicants – highlight the problems inherent to California’s workers’ compensation programs. Hopefully, after receiving much publicity – including an L.A. Times article – these deserving workers will soon get the workers’ compensation benefits that they deserve. But what about the thousands of California employees injured at work who do not get a front page story that will accelerate their claim?

As advocates for injured workers, our attorneys have long acknowledged that California’s workers’ compensation systems are difficult to navigate, often rely on prohibitive guidelines for treatment approval, and leave a great deal of discretion in the hands of employers and their insurers regarding necessarily medical treatment.

For example, one victim of the San Bernadino shooting was prescribed medication by her doctor – which the workers’ comp insurer immediately denied. After her doctors fought to get her medication approved, it was covered for only one month at a time. So every month she must fight to have it refilled. Our workers’ comp attorneys have seen this hundreds of time.

Workers Comp Attorneys Advocate for Change

Our law firm has been actively advocating for legislative changes that improve the workers’ compensation process for more than 4 decades. And we have fought relentlessly for the medical treatments needed by our thousands of workers’ compensation clients for the past 45 years. While we are experts at fighting to get our clients’ workers’ comp claims paid – we believe that the system should not be so difficult for injured workers.

We call upon legislators to improve & streamline the workers’ compensation system – and we urge employers and their insurers to demonstrate compassion when exercising their discretion in the San Bernadino case, and all injured worker cases. In the meantime, our attorneys are here for you, remaining vigilant in our commitment to fight for any injured workers who have been denied their rightful workers’ compensation benefits.