On June 25, 2021, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) released its official report on workers’ compensation “losses and expenses” for the year 2020. In total, workers’ compensation insurers paid out more than $12 billion to process and resolve claims in California last year—a nearly 10% decrease when compared to 2019. In this blog post, our California workers’ compensation defense attorneys provide an overview of the WCIRB’s 2020 report on workers’ compensation losses and expenses.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California in 2020: Medical Expenses

Under California state law, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) is required to publish an annual report on the state’s program. According to the official data provided by the WCIRB, workers’ compensation insurers paid out $4.2 billion to cover medical expenses for injured workers in 2020. In 2019, insurance companies in the state paid out $4.5 billion for medical expenses for injured employees. Here is a breakdown of where the medical costs were spent:

  • Patient evaluation and management of claims: 37.3%
  • Physical medicine services: 26.3%
  • Surgical operations: 12.7%
  • Radiology: 7.5%
  • Medical specialists and related services: 6.4%
  • Anesthesia services: 1.2%

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California in 2020: Lost Wages

According to the WCIRB report, workers’ compensation insurance companies California paid out $3.7 billion in ‘indemnity benefits’ in 2020. In this context, the term indemnity benefits essentially referred to wage loss benefits. During the same period in 2019, workers’ compensation insurers in California paid out $3.8 billion in wage loss benefits. A more comprehensive breakdown of the wage loss benefits show that:

  • 53% of total indemnity benefits covered temporary disability;
  • 36% of total indemnity benefits covered permanent disability, and
  • The remaining indemnity payments covered other benefits, including vocational rehabilitation services.

Summary: Workers’ Compensation Claims Dropped Slightly in California in 2020

2020 was a challenging year for many people in California. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting communities across the entire globe, many employers had to deal with significant disruptions. The WCIRB does contain some good news: The number of workers’ compensation claims filed in California was actually slightly lower in 2020 than it was in 2019. There has been a long-term trend in our state towards a reduction in workplace accidents. That being said, with government public health restrictions in place and a temporary spike in the unemployment rate, there were fewer total hours worked in California in 2020 than in 2019.

Call Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyers for Immediate Legal Help

At Yrulegui & Roberts, we work in close partnership with employers, insurers, and claims administrators to exceed expectations. Our law firm is committed to providing the highest quality of workers’ compensation defense services. Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation. We serve WCAB throughout Central California, including Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento, Stockton, Redding, San Jose, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, and Van Nuys.