Legislative enactments changed the substance and structure of Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation system. The 2016-2017 edition of Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Law highlights these significant changes and their potential impact, including:
- Wisconsin’s 2015-2017 Budget Bill (2015 Wis. Act 55) altered the organizational structure involved with the Workers’ Compensation Act. These changes are treated in this edition.
- The statute of limitations for traumatic injuries was reduced from 12 years to six (6) years for injury dates on/after March 2, 2016. The statute of limitations for occupational exposure claims remained at 12 years.
- If a worker suffers a traumatic injury (after March 2, 2016) resulting in a permanent partial disability rating (PPD), a physician’s report on PPD must include an opinion regarding the approximate percentage of disability caused by the traumatic injury and, if applicable, the percentage of disability caused by “other factors” before or after the injury.
- All indemnity benefits are barred if an employee violates an employer’s consistently enforced policy concerning alcohol and drug use when the violation is “causal to” the worker’s injury. Previous law allowed a potential reduction of a worker’s benefits by 15% if the injury was the result of intoxication or use of controlled substances.
- For injuries on/after March 2, 2016, temporary total disability benefits can be suspended when an employee is released to limited duty post-injury and subsequently suspended/terminated for “misconduct” or “substantial fault” as defined under the unemployment insurance law.