Cover: Findings and Recommendations on California's Permanent Partial Disability System

Findings and Recommendations on California's Permanent Partial Disability System

Executive Summary

Published 1997

by Rachel Kaganoff Stern, Mark A. Peterson, Robert T. Reville, Mary E. Vaiana


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 2.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback49 pages $8.00

Workers in California experiencing injuries at work that result in permanent partial disabilities (PPD) are eligible to receive compensation. The workers' benefits, doctors' and attorneys' fees, and the system that processes the hundreds of thousands of annual claims cost employers billions of dollars each year. This is the executive summary of a comprehensive report that evaluates the workers' compensation system by examining its efficiency and the adequacy and equity of its benefits, and suggests system reforms. The authors conducted interviews with system participants and found that the system is still troubled by many of the same problems that plagued it before the 1989 and 1993 reforms. It remains overly costly, complex, and litigious while delivering modest benefits. The authors estimated the wage losses of PPD claimants in 1991-93, and found that even after five years, the injured workers earned considerably less than controls. In addition, injured workers experience considerable time out of work, not just immediately after the injury, but also after the initial return to work. The authors identified particular problems among claims categorized by the workers' compensation system as "minor," the vast majority of claims. For this group, wage replacement rates were lowest. Reform proposals include an elective fast track to streamline claims processing, and a revision to the disability rating schedule to improve the relationship between wage loss and benefits paid.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.