The new law, which aims to rein in skyrocketing comp costs, requires physicians to determine the percentage of a worker's permanent disability that is caused by work and the percentage that can be attributed to other factors such as arthritis, osteoporosis and body weight.
Previously, a work-related injury was determined to be the sole cause of a disability if the employee had no symptoms of a disabling medical condition.
Now, in one case, a doctor concluded that two percent of a hotel maid's abdominal problem was caused by hauling a bed and 98 percent by the fact that she was overweight and had three children.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is getting heat from some injured workers. "I don't know that he realizes with this gung-ho attitude what he has done," said an injured Lockheed employee.
This manâ€™s problems started in March, 1999 when his left knee popped as he climbed into an electric cart. Knee surgery failed to alleviate his pain and favoring the left leg led to problems with his right knee, hips and back.
In May, citing the change in law, a physician selected by attorneys for Lockheed and the worker blamed half his hip problems on arthritis, although the doctor said the workplace injury accelerated the condition.