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Authentication of Video Evidence at Trial

Posted by Sure S. Log on Dec 21, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Video/surveillance evidence is commonly presented in workers' compensation litigation. When and how such evidence may be admitted, however, has not been well-defined. In some cases, the WCAB has refused to admit such evidence when the defendant could not lay a foundation for it by producing the investigator who captured the images. (See PSI Bearings v. WCAB (Tallent) (2001) 66 CCC 1114 (writ denied); Richard v. San Francisco 49ers (2015) 2015 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 265.)

In the recent decision of Johnson v. Lexmar Distribution dba LDI Trucking, Inc., 2021 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 289, however, the WCAB indicated that the investigator's testimony no longer might be necessary to admit the material into evidence.

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Cancelling An AME Agreement

Posted by Sure S. Log on Nov 16, 2021 10:30:00 AM

Agreed Medical Evaluators (AMEs) have an important role in resolving discovery disputes in the workers' compensations system. Rather than relying on a panel of qualified medical evaluators (QMEs) randomly selected by the Medical Unit, the parties mutually may agree on an AME to resolve any disputed medical issues.

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Topics: Special Reports, AME

Compensability of Injury From Government-Mandated COVID-19 Vaccination

Posted by Sure S. Log on Oct 19, 2021 10:30:00 AM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of COVID-19 vaccines to enhance people's ability to resist infection by the virus. Vaccines are widely available, and many employers are deciding whether to require employees to be vaccinated (or incentivize them) as a condition for returning to work. For some employees, however, COVID-19 vaccinations are or will be mandated by the government.

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Topics: Special Reports, COVID-19, Vaccine, Mandate

MPN Access Standards If an Employee Chooses to Treat with a Specialist

Posted by Sure S. Log on Sep 21, 2021 10:00:00 AM

For a medical provider network (MPN) to be valid, it must offer access and a certain degree of choice for the injured worker. Labor Code 4616(a)(1) states, "The provider network shall include an adequate number and type of physicians, as described in Section 3209.3, or other providers, as described in Section 3209.5, to treat common injuries experienced by injured employees based on the type of occupation or industry in which the employee is engaged..." It also requires an MPN to include physicians based on "the geographic area where the employees are employed."

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Topics: Workers Compensation, MPN, PTP

Employer-Provided Vaccines and Workers' Compensation Liability

Posted by Michael W. Sullivan on Jan 14, 2021 2:19:17 PM

Register to Attend a Webinar on This Topic
Wednesday 1/20/2021 at 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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Temporary Disability Benefits Due To Covid-19 Stay-At-Home Orders

Posted by Sure S. Log on Oct 20, 2020 2:30:00 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant financial consequences for many employers and employees. Due to the overall need to protect the public at large from the spread of COVID-19, the state of California and many local governments have issued stay-at-home orders, closing nonessential businesses or allowing them to remain open only if their employees could telecommute. Many businesses were forced to shut down during the stay-at-home orders, and many employees found themselves out of work.

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Topics: Announcements, Special Reports, COVID-19

Gund v. County of Trinity: Application of the Exclusive Remedy Rule to Members of the Public Assisting in Active Law Enforcement

Posted by Sure S. Log on Sep 2, 2020 2:27:13 PM

On Aug. 27, 2020, in Gund v. County of Trinity, the California Supreme Court issued a decision that highlights what injured workers must give up as part of the compensation bargain.

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Topics: Special Reports, COVID-19

Remote Depositions in Response to COVID-19

Posted by Sure S. Log on Mar 27, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on March 19, 2020. It requires all individuals living in California to stay home or at their place of residence, except for what are deemed to be essential activities. Services that remain open include grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, laundromats and many government and public service functions, including law enforcement, emergency services and utility maintenance and repair.[1]

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Topics: Special Reports, COVID-19

The Impact of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act on Employers with Fewer than 500 Employees

Posted by Eric H. De Wames on Mar 23, 2020 2:00:00 PM

On March 14, 2020, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). On March 18, 2020, the Senate passed the bill which was significantly revised from its original form. President Trump signed it into law the same day. The effective dates of these provisions are from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

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Topics: Red Alerts, COVID-19

WCAB Emergency Actions in Response to COVID-19

Posted by Sure S. Log on Mar 19, 2020 2:00:00 PM

The novel coronavirus, now called COVID-19, is spreading rapidly around the world. There are confirmed cases in every state in our union. Everyone has a duty to act proactively to prevent the spread of the disease.

In addition to other measures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends "social distancing," which it defines as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible." It defines "congregate settings" as "crowded public places where close contact with others may occur, such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums."[1]

Accordingly, the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) and the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) have taken emergency action to limit the number of people who appear at the WCAB district offices around the state.

On March 16, 2020, the DWC and WCAB announced a modified hearing calendar and emergency rules on filing.[2] From March 17 through March 20, the DWC will hold only expedited hearings at the district offices. All other hearings will be continued and issue notices of new hearing dates.

From March 23 through April 3, the DWC will continue to hold expedited hearings at district offices. But status conferences, mandatory settlement conferences and priority conferences will be conducted only via CourtCall.[3] Parties will not be penalized for failing to appear via CourtCall. Instead, if parties do not appear via CourtCall, the case will be continued with notice given. All other hearings will be continued, and no trial or lien conferences will be conducted during this period.

From March 17 through April 3, documents cannot be physically filed at the district offices. The DWC will not accept walk-through documents until the district offices are reopen for filing purposes. Parties may utilize EAMS to file documents online. Parties also may mail settlement documents and petitions to the district offices with venue.

On March 17, 2020, the DWC announced that it would temporarily close its San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco district offices. DWC headquarters, which includes the Medical Unit, Return-to-Work Supplement Program, Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund and Legal Unit, also will be closed temporarily.[4]

On March 18, 2020, the WCAB issued an en banc decision temporarily suspending specified WCAB Rules of Practice and Procedure.[5] The suspension applies to all district offices and to these rules:

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Topics: Red Alerts, COVID-19