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Not to be Overlooked: Understanding AB 685 and Preparing for an Invisible Risk

September 22, 2020 On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 685 into law, further expanding and solidifying legislation created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The law will become effective as of January 1, 2021. We have provided a breakdown of the law and recommendations for how our clients can best handle and prepare for the changes to Cal/OSHA regulations and procedures. AB 685 expands both reporting and notification requirements for employers, and increases Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue Stop […]

Governor Newsom Poised to Sign SB 1159: A Primer on Continuation and Expansion of COVID-19 Presumptive Injuries

September 2, 2020 Ever since Governor Newsom’s May 7th Executive Order N-63-20 established a new paradigm for claims handling in the era of COVID-19, the workers’ compensation world has waited with bated breath for the inevitable legislation which the order promised would be soon to follow. As different versions of the bill that would ultimately become SB-1159 worked its way through the chambers of the California Legislature, there has been much speculation—and trepidation—about what the final text of the bill […]

Working From Home: Firing Up Litigation?

July 21, 2020 In the last several years, there has been an increase in the number of employers who offer a remote work environment (i.e., work from home). In fact, the numbers of employees working from home have increased by 140% since 2005, with as many as 4.3 million people in the United States working from home at least half the time. SmallBizGenius, 2019.  The benefits of working from home can range from increased happiness and productivity of employees, to […]

Discovery and Trial Practice in Era of COVID-19: A Guide for Navigating Recent Executive Orders And Their Impacts on Witness Testimony and Telemedicine

July 21, 2020 Californians entered unchartered territory as the world encountered the global spread of COVID-19 in March 2020. Government officials, business owners, and individuals scrambled to implement regulations and develop new ways to conduct business and provide essential services, while still complying with safety and social distancing measures. In the workers’ compensation arena, we have seen changes to Board policies, discovery procedures, medical evaluations and treatment, and expansion of presumptions pertaining to employees infected with COVID-19. As we continue […]

Appellate Decision Limits Hikida; Allows Apportionment for Impairment Caused by Medical Treatment

July 21, 2020 In a recent case which is helpful to the defense bar, County of Santa Clara v. WCAB (Justice), the 6th District Court of Appeal limited the scope of the findings in the 2nd District Court’s previous holding in Hikida v. WCAB (2017) 12 Cal. App. 5th 1249. Justice clarified that apportionment to preexisting or non-industrial condi­tions can still apply to industrial disability where the treatment itself is the source of the disability. To review, Hikida created shockwaves […]

Executive Order Mandates Unprecedented Expansion of Compensability for COVID-19 Claims

May 6, 2020 Although strongly contested by the California Chamber of Commerce, on May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20 creating a rebuttable presumption of occupational exposure for workers diagnosed with COVID-19. The Executive Order mandates provision of workers compensation benefits under a certain set of criteria and applies to claims retroactive to March 19, 2020. It is effective for the next 60 days (through July 5, 2020). To qualify, the injured worker must meet a four […]

2020 Regulations Update

April 21, 2020 It seems every time we celebrate a New Year we are presented with changes in the California’s Workers’ Compensation system. 2020 was no exception, as revisions of California Code of Regulations, Title 8 became effective January 1, 2020. These changes affect sections 10300 to 10999. This regulatory update marks the largest change and reorganization of the rules since they were adopted. The purpose of reworking the organizational structure of the rules, which were originally adopted in 1966, […]

Permanent Disability Strategies Take Center Stage at 2020 Palm Springs CAAA Convention

April 21, 2020 The 2020 CAAA Convention took place in Palm Springs, and while we are used to seeing the applicants’ bar come up with creative approaches to increase permanent disability, given that permanent disability can be a primary cost-driver for a claim’s value, it is not surprising that strategies focused on increasing PD were once again a hot topic. One novel idea was focused on a broad reading from the AMA Guides 5th Edition. In giving general examples of […]

Business on Hold Due to COVID 19? Here’s Why Temporary Disability Benefits Might Still be Owed During the Shutdown

March 25, 2020 While the world grapples with the sudden and far-reaching impacts of COVID-19, the effects of its spread have been felt across all businesses and communities. As our government struggles to stem the spread of the disease, we have been forced to adapt to a rapidly changing social and legal landscape, which can lead to uncertainty regarding legal obligations to employees. With more and more employees ordered to stay home from work and shelter in place, unique challenges […]

Containing COVID-19: Initial Impressions on Assessing and Mitigating Claims Exposure

March 9, 2020 Containing COVID-19: Initial Impressions on Assessing and Mitigating Claims Exposure The growing outbreak of COVID-19 is concerning for not only public health, but also for employers who could soon be faced with an influx of workers’ compensation claims. Allegations of exposure are most likely to arise in sectors of the economy where job duties place employees in close and frequent contact with the public. These “high risk” sectors include health care workers, public safety officers, teachers, those […]