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Category: Flash Bulletins


August 31, 2023 The WCAB offered clarity on the complex topic of “vocational apportionment” in an en banc decision issued on June 22, 2023: Grace Nunes v. State of California, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, legally uninsured; State Compensation Insurance Fund (ADJ8210063; ADJ8621818). In that decision, the WCAB held that “vocational evidence must address apportionment and may not substitute impermissible ‘vocational apportionment’ in place of otherwise valid medical apportionment.” In other words, the WCAB found that the concept of “vocational apportionment” […]

Court of Appeal Nixes WCAB’s “Grant for Further Study”

August 3, 2023 The California Court of Appeal for the Second District issued a writ of mandate on August 1, 2023, ending the WCAB’s longstanding procedure of granting Petitions for Reconsideration for Further Study. Unfortunately, however, do not expect the WCAB to start issuing final decisions at a blistering pace just yet. There has been a significant uptick in the number of “grant-for-study” orders in recent years, especially since the start of the pandemic in 2020. If you have petitioned […]

Advocacy Letters: Strategies For Eliciting A “Winning” Report

August 3, 2023 A carefully crafted advocacy letter will make an impactful first impression. Often, an advocacy letter is one of the first communications between an attorney or adjuster and the medical expert. Many advocacy letters submitted to medical experts are “form letters” lacking specific details and information from a medical standpoint. As a result, medical experts are left to submit reports that do not address specific details of the claim and pertinent medical information. This leads to delays, supplemental […]

2023 CAAA Conferences: What Are Applicant’s Attorneys Saying?

August 3, 2023 Twice a year, the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association has a conference to discuss everything from changes in Workers’ Compensation Law, to developing new strategies to increase recoveries for their clients. The 2023 Winter CAAA and Summer conferences were no exception; this year’s conferences covered a range of topics including expediting medical treatment, strategies to obtain QME panel lists in their preferred specialties, increasing permanent disability, and pursuing penalties. 1)    Medical Discovery – Securing Authorization for Treating Physicians, […]

Kuciemba Update: Supreme Court Answers Long-Awaited Questions on Family Member COVID-19 Claims

July 6, 2023 In a unanimous opinion, the California Supreme Court answered two questions posed to it by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, finding that an employer is not liable for a COVID-19 injury sustained by an employee’s household member, even if that household member contracted COVID-19 because of the employer’s negligence, and that the household member’s negligence claim is not barred by the exclusive remedy doctrine. The Court held that while the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy doctrine does […]

WCAB Rejects Concept of “Vocational Apportionment” in Rare En Banc Decision

June 23, 2023 Further Restrictions on Vocational Apportionment As most workers’ compensation practitioners can attest, vocational evidence has seen a resurgence in recent years, as the applicant’s bar attempts to obtain Awards of 100% permanent total disability. One unfortunate side effect of this resurgence, is the development of the complex concept of “vocational apportionment.” Thankfully, the WCAB has offered much-needed clarity on this complex topic in a recent en banc decision issued on June 22, 2023: Grace Nunes v. State […]

Time for the WCAB to Act on Petitions for Reconsideration

March 28, 2023 Do you have any cases that have been pending on Reconsideration and remain unresolved for what you believe to be an unreasonable period of time? If so, you should be aware that ongoing delays issuing decisions at the WCAB Reconsideration Unit have drawn increasing attention, both in the judicial, and legislative realms. On the judicial side, the case of Michele Earley vs. WCAB [Case No. B318842] is currently pending at the California Court of Appeal for the […]

Impact of SB 1127

February 15, 2023 On September 29, 2022, updates to the Labor Code went into effect when Governor Newsom signed SB 1127 into law.  Two of these updates significantly expanded benefits for safety officers, one update imposed a potentially hefty penalty for unreasonably rejected claims, and the final update related to data collection. Expanded Temporary Disability for Cancer Claims The first provision of SB1127 is a significant expansion of temporary disability benefits for safety officers, namely firefighters, peace officers, and fire […]

COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACE: Updates on Legislation

February 15, 2023 As COVID-19 continues to linger in California, it remains an ongoing concern for state lawmakers. In response to this ongoing threat, California continues to provide updated regulations as it pertains to COVID in the workplace. This article will cover the recent updates adopted by the State of California. Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations Up until present, the state has been operating under Emergency Temporary Standards as it pertains to COVID-19 Prevention Regulations. On December 15, 2022, Non-Emergency COVID-19 […]

New Timeline to set QME Evaluations: Amendment to Regulations for Medical Legal Evaluations

February 7, 2023 On February 2, 2023 the Division of Workers Compensation filed with the Secretary of State changes to Regulations related to scheduling, remote health (previously known as telehealth), and requesting replacement Panel QMEs. Updates were made to Title 8, California Code of Regulations sections 31.3, 31.5, 34, 46.3 and Forms 31.5 & 108. According to the Administrative Director, the driving purpose behind these amendments is to increase availability of physicians and reduce replacement panels that cause delays in the […]