Assembly Bill 724 became a law on March 4th, 2016. Governor Scott Walker signed the bill on February 29th, and with the exception of two provisions that will take effect this July, all other provisions were effective as of March 4th.
According to a Fox6now.com article, the new law, Wisconsin Act 180, makes several changes to the system – from “allowing the Department of Justice to prosecute worker’s compensation fraud,” to “decreasing the statute of limitations for businesses to bring Wisconsin in line with other states, allowing workers during retraining to earn part-time wages to supplement their income, and protecting the ‘grand bargain’ where employers receive tort protection in exchange for providing work place injury insurance to employees.”
“[Act 180] benefits injured workers by increasing permanent-disability rates in coming years, as well as by giving them greater ability to pursue and collect on vocational-retraining claims,” said Attorney Charles Domer, in a recent Wisconsin Law Journal article. Before Assembly Bill 724 was approved, Assembly Bill 501, also known as the “worker’s compensation destruction bill” was a competitor to the new law. “[AB 501] would have torn down the system by exponentially increasing litigation, hindering access to medical care and recovery and possibly creating a slippery slope to unlimited jury awards,” said Domer.
Attorney Josh Turim views the passing of Act 180 as a positive step for the 105-year old Wisconsin worker’s compensation system. “It’s truly a good thing that both sides were able to come together to push forward legislation that is in the interest of all parties,” he said. “That being said, I don’t believe we will know the bill’s real effects for a number of years.”
If you have been injured in the workplace, please contact us today.