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Vocational Evidence and LC 4660.1(c)

For injuries on or after Jan. 1, 2013, Labor Code 4660.1(c)(1) states that "the impairment ratings for sleep dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, or psychiatric disorder, or any combination thereof, arising out of a compensable physical injury shall not increase." LC 4660.1(c)(2)(A)(B), however, specifies two exceptions allowing an increased impairment rating for a psychiatric disorder. An employee may receive such a rating by proving that the injury resulted from either: (1) being a victim of a violent act or direct exposure to a significant violent act; or (2) a catastrophic injury. Moreover, the WCAB continues to hold that the permanent disability schedule under LC 4660.1 can be rebutted by vocational evidence. How should LC 4660.1(c)(1) be applied if the employee is unable to return to the open labor market as a result of his or her physical injury in addition to a compensable consequence psychological disorder? The issue was addressed recently in the case of Schaan v. Jerry Thompson...

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Actual Event of Employment Under LC 3208.3(b)(1)

Labor Code § 3208.3(b)(1) requires a psychiatric injury to be caused predominantly by "actual events of employment." The Court of Appeal has recognized that "The phrase 'actual events of employment' does not provide clear guidance because it is 'susceptible to many meanings.'" (Verga v. WCAB (2008) 159 Cal. App. 4th 174, 185.) It noted that "The intent of the statute was 'to establish a new and higher threshold of compensability for psychiatric injury' and to 'limit claims for psychiatric benefits due to their proliferation and their potential for fraud and abuse.'" (Verga v. WCAB (2008) 159 Cal. App. 4th 174, 185.)

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