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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 […]

Newly Signed Senate Bill 542: New Rebuttable Presumptions for Firefighters and Peace Officers

November 12, 2019 Given the high risk and dangers associated with law enforcement and safety occupations, workers’ compensation provides a number of presumptions for certain types of injuries. The statutory presumptions mandate that the injury occurred AOE/COE and thus shifts the burden of proof to the employer that the injury did not occur on the job. These rebuttable presumptions are often difficult to overcome. Only members that are specifically enunciated in each Labor Code Section are entitled to a particular […]

AB 5 and the “Gig Economy”: Contractors or Employees?

September 20, 2019 The California Legislature passed AB 5 on Wednesday, which will likely have a huge impact on businesses utilizing an independent contractor model in classifying its employees. This bill had already gained national attention from presidential candidates, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris. We at Laughlin, Falbo, Levy & Moresi LLP are tackling and getting to know this bill and its potential impact more thoroughly. Here is what we know so far. In April 2018, […]

Significant Panel Decision Finds Saturday Not A “Working Day”

September 16, 2019 At last, a victory for utilization review and proponents of the sanctity of Saturdays. The WCAB has issued a significant panel decision—and simultaneously providing clarity concerning a previous decision in California Department of Corrections v. WCAB (Gomez)—finding that, for the purposes of utilization review determinations, Saturdays are not “working days” within the meaning of Labor Code Section 4610. With the benefit of “hindsight,” the WCAB found that linking the Civil Code Section 9 definition of “business day” […]

HOW SMOKE INHALATION BECAME A CATASTROPHIC INJURY: Wilson Opens the Floodgates for Compensable Consequence Psych Impairment Claims

May 13, 2019 In what appears to be the continuation of an ongoing trend to expand situations in which an applicant can once again receive compensable consequence psychological impairment, the WCAB issued an en banc opinion in the matter of Kris Wilson v. State of CA Cal Fire, ADJ10116932. This is a significant decision and binding on all WCJs. Prior opinions by the WCAB have addressed the “violent act” exception of Labor Code 4660.1(c)(2)(A). The WCAB has determined a violent […]

LINDH UPENDS STATUS QUO: Legitimizes Apportionment to Underlying Asymptomatic Conditions

December 11, 2018 The First District Court of Appeal has given employers and carriers an unexpected but deeply appreciated Christmas present a few days early with its published opinion in City of Petaluma v. WCAB (Lindh), No. A153811, which issued on December 10, 2018. The case reinforces and reinvigorates the notion that legally valid apportionment can come from underlying pathology or an asymptomatic pre-existing condition or disease. Though SB 899 was supposed to create a sea change in how the […]