By: Chelsie D. Springstead
The much-anticipated changes to the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act were signed by Governor Walker on February 29, 2016 and went into effect yesterday – March 2, 2016! Please see the Act 180 Statutory Language and Act 180 Plain Language Summary of the bill which is now in effect. I have summarized a few of the major changes below:
- Maximum weekly PPD rate for injury dates of 3/2/16 to 12/31/16 are increased to $342, and for injury dates of 1/1/17 or later are increased to $362
- Reduce the statute of limitations for traumatic injuries with a date of injury of March 2, 2016 or later from 12 years to 6 years (please note that the statute of limitations for occupational injuries remains unchanged)
- Allow apportionment of permanent partial disability for traumatic injuries based on causation (does not apply to occupational injuries). Practitioners (both treating doctors and IME doctors) shall address the issue of causation of the permanency to include a determination of the percentage of permanent disability caused by the work event and the percentage attributable to other factors
- Minimum PPD ratings will be reviewed and updated every 8 years by a medical advisory committee
- Eliminate indemnity and death benefits to workers who violate an employer’s drug and alcohol policy if the use of the drugs/alcohol are shown to be the cause of the injury
- Allow the employer/carrier to deny temporary disability benefits if a worker is brought back to work on light duty while in a healing period and they are subsequently fired due to misconduct or substantial fault (please note that ‘misconduct’ and ‘substantial fault’ are defined in the Unemployment Compensation Act, Wis. Stat. Sec. 108.04)
- Allow prospective orders for vocational retraining
The Lindner & Marsack Worker’s Compensation Defense Team is presenting more information on this topic at our upcoming half-day Spring Symposium being held on Thursday, March 10, 2016. Please see the 2016 Spring Symposium Invitation flyer for more information on this complimentary seminar. Register today!
Additionally, our Worker’s Compensation Defense Team is offering individualized training for employers and insurance carriers regarding the statutory changes and how they will affect your day-to-day handling of claims. Please contact us for more information or to schedule training.