Parker, Kern, Nard & Wenzel
Legal Updates


The Best Defenses

By
David H. Parker

I am often asked "what are the best defenses?" or some variation of that question. Most often the variation is "how can I reduce workers' compensation costs?" Often the answer I give surprises many.

"Safety and prevention. Avoid injuries at all costs."

The same answer may be broadened to include any litigation. Avoid it at all costs.

The Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau ("WCIRB") reported the average cost of a 2013 worker's compensation indemnity claim was $86,946, broken down as $24,926 indemnity, $50,466 medical and $11,554 for allocated loss adjustment expenses. The National Safety Council and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("NSC" and "CDC" respectively) estimate a 2015 fatal injury carries an average cost of about $991,027. This average includes only hospital costs. The NSC model puts the average fatality's cost to society at $1.42 million.

The Return on Investment ("ROI") of a safety and prevention program is never clear. Statistics and costs vary. Different entities require different measures. Often necessary"ROI" figures are proprietary or not readily identifiable. How does one "prove the negative," i.e., the savings of avoiding an injury that never happened?

My best encouragement is the statement I will publish here, with the hope it may be cited by others as authority safety programs are well worth the investment: my experience is the costs of safety and prevention programs in California are far less than the cost of a single 2013 California workers' compensation injury.

Imagine what your company could do with $86,946 or more every year if it avoids a single injury.

Our firm is committed to educating employers and their insurance companies throughout California in addition to defending them. Part of that commitment is encouraging establishment of safety and prevention programs designed to reduce litigation exposure.

If you are interested in exploring or expanding safety in your workplace, I can give you a first or next step at little cost: plan to attend the 5th annual Central Valley Safety Symposium on September 28, 2016. This program annually provides one of the broadest and best ranges of safety education, learning and networking opportunities at an extremely reasonable cost. Registration is just $99.00 and may be done online at http://www.cvasse.com.

This year I have volunteered my time as keynote speaker at the Symposium at no charges, costs, commissions or fees. It is presented by our Central Valley local chapter of the ASSE national organization with the purpose of encouraging others to promote safety in their workplaces. As an added incentive for you to attend, the first 5 readers who provide proof of registration may email it to Amanda Kjar of our offices (akjar@pknwlaw.com) to receive a copy of Parker, Kern, Nard and Wenzel's first edition of "Top Sheets- Statutory Edition ™ 2016," an in-house legal resource publication providing easy desktop references to every day workers' compensation citations. Your copy will be sent to you at no-charge for taking what may be the most important step in defending against workers' compensation exposures in California.

The best workers' compensation defenses are safety and prevention. My hope is to see everyone raising them at the September 28, 2016 ASSE conference.