Safety Officer Death Cases
Governor Brown has approved SB-1086, which amends Labor Code section 5406.7 as it pertains to the Statute of Limitations period for commencement of proceedings to collect dependency death benefits in specified peace officer claims.
Existing law specifies the time period which various proceedings may be commenced under provisions of law relating to workers’ compensation. With certain exceptions, a proceeding to collect death benefits is required to be commenced within one year from several circumstances, including, but not limited to, the date of death. However, no proceedings may be commenced more than one year after the date of death or more than 240 weeks from the date of injury.
AB-1035, which took effect in 2014, extended the time period to commence proceedings to collect death benefits for claims brought by, or on behalf of, a person who was a dependent on the day of death, from 240 weeks from the date of injury to no later than 420 weeks from the date of injury, not to exceed one year from the date of death, in the case of deceased firefighters and peace officers who died of any of the following: cancer, tuberculosis, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infections, or bloodborne infectious disease. AB-1035 and the current Labor Code 5406.7 sunsets the extended statute of limitations of 420 weeks from the date of injury on January 1, 2019.
SB-1086 proposed a deletion of the sunset clause, permanently extending the Statute of Limitations period for dependents of safety officers whose death is the result of compensable cancer, tuberculosis, MRSA, or bloodborne infectious diseases from 240 weeks from the date of injury to 420 weeks from the date of injury, not to exceed one year from the date of death.
SB-1086 has been approved and will extend the Statute of Limitations period moving forward.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
In enacting AB-1035 to extend Statute of Limitations period for commencement of proceedings to collect death benefits in the case of deceased firefighters and peace officers from 240 weeks to 420 weeks in 2014, the legislature included a sunset provision through 2019 in order to allow time for a fiscal impact study. While the data has not yet been released, it has been reported that only two cancer claims have been filed that would have been barred by the prior shorter statute of limitations.
SB-1086 does not create new law, but will permanently extend the Statute of Limitations in safety officer death cases involving cancer, tuberculosis, MRSA, and bloodborne infectious diseases from 240 to 420 weeks from the date of injury, not to exceed one year from date of death.