On April 3, 2023, National Nurses United published a press release on the call for California lawmakers to pass Assembly Bill 1156 (AB 1156). A proposed reform to our state’s workers’ compensation laws, the bill was authored by Mia Bonta (Democrat, Oakland) and it is being sponsored by California’s largest labor union for nurses (California Nurses Association). Within this blog post, our Sacramento workers’ compensation defense attorney discusses the key things employers and insurers should know about California AB 1156.

What is Assembly Bill 1156?

Assembly Bill 1156 (AB 1156) is a proposed legislation concerning workers’ compensation for hospital employees. It aims to broaden the definition of “injury” for those who provide direct patient care in acute care hospitals, to encompass infectious diseases (including COVID-19 and its variants), cancer, musculoskeletal injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and respiratory diseases. The bill seeks to establish rebuttable presumptions that these injuries, developed or manifested by a hospital employee, are a result of their employment. In its current form, the legislation builds upon existing workers’ compensation laws by extending the rebuttable presumptions for specific injuries sustained by law enforcement or first responders to include hospital employees.

Why California’s AB 1156 Could Have Big Implications for Employers and Insurers

California’s AB 1156 could have significant implications for employers and insurers due to the establishment of a rebuttable presumption for hospital employees. By including a broad range of injuries and illnesses under the rebuttable presumption provision, the legislation would make it easier for covered workers (nurses) to obtain benefits for covered conditions. Employers and insurers may face increased challenges in disputing claims, as the burden of proof shifts towards them to demonstrate a lack of work-related connection. While it is not impossible to refute claims, the process might become more time-consuming and costly. In turn, this could lead to higher workers’ compensation premiums for employers and an increased financial burden for insurers.

The Legislation Still has a Long Way to Go Before Becoming Law in California

It is important to emphasize that AB 1156 is not yet law in California. Indeed, the proposed workers’ compensation reform legislation has a long way to go before it can become law in the state. While it has obtained some public support from key parties, it still needs to be passed by both chambers of the California legislature and signed by the governor. Our California workers’ compensation defense lawyers will keep a close watch on this bill and all other developments that could impact the rights of our clients.

Get Help From Our Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer Today

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Sacramento workers’ compensation defense attorneys go above and beyond to provide the highest level of legal guidance and support to employers, insurers, and claims administration firms. If you have any questions about the proposed AB 1156 or any other workers’ compensation matter, we are here as a resource. Contact us today to set up your fully confidential, no commitment consultation. Our firm serves Sacramento and communities throughout the area.