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DWC Announces In-Person Trials Starting March 21, 2022

On March 9, 2022, the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) announced that in-person hearings will resume starting March 21, 2022, at almost all of the DWC district offices. The only exceptions are Eureka, which is now a completely virtual office, and satellite locations Bishop, Marysville, Chico and Ukiah, which also will remain virtual.

The in-person hearings apply only to trials, lien trials, expedited hearings and special adjudication unit (SAU) trials. The DWC will continue to telephonically hear all mandatory settlement conferences, priority conferences, status conferences, SAU conferences and lien conferences via the individually assigned judges’ conference lines.

The DWC requires all visitors to DWC offices to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status or county mandates. The DWC also instructs parties to contact the DWC call center at (909) 383-4522 if they have any questions.

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Note that while in-person trials are being resumed, they are not required. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) amended its Rules of Practice and Procedure to allow for remote hearings. Per CCR 10745, the WCAB may order any type of hearing to be conducted electronically. Per CCR 10750, the WCAB must give notice of each hearing, including whether the hearing will be conducted electronically.

After service of a notice that a hearing will be conducted electronically, a party may object to an electronic hearing by filing a written objection showing good cause. If there is an objection, the presiding workers' compensation judge of the district office with venue will decide whether the hearing will be conducted electronically (CCR 10815).

If an in-person hearing is scheduled, a party may file a petition showing good cause to appear electronically. If an electronic hearing is scheduled, no petition is required (CCR 10816). Similarly, if a witness intends to testify electronically, the witness or the party offering the witness' testimony may file a petition showing good cause for it. Again, if an electronic hearing is scheduled, no petition is required (CCR 10817).

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