Workers’ Compensation

Ca. Workers' Comp. Quarterly 2019, Vol. 32, No. 4

Note from the Editor

Randy Pollak, Esq. Thousand Oaks, California

Greetings to the Workers’ Compensation Section of the California Lawyers Association, and welcome to the new issue of the Quarterly! 2019 was very eventful for the workers’ compensation community, and 2020 has started out full steam, with major changes ahead.

Toward the end of 2019 our community saw legal decisions important to the practice of workers’ compensation law. In the last quarter, in one significant event, the WCAB issued an en banc decision in Colamonico v. Secure Transportation (2019) 84 Cal. Comp.Cases 1059. Therein the WCAB held that a medical-legal provider has the initial burden of proof that (1) pursuant to Labor Code section 4620, a contested claim existed at the time the expenses were incurred and the expenses were incurred for the purpose of proving or disproving a contested claim; and (2) its medical-legal services were, pursuant to Labor Code section 4621(a), reasonably, actually, and necessarily incurred. The WCAB also clarified that pursuant to Labor Code section 4662, a defendant does not waive an objection based on Labor Code section 4620 or 4621 by failing to raise those objections in an explanation of review.

Also in the last quarter of 2019, the community saw several important published decisions from various courts of appeal. In Skelton v. WCAB (2019) 39 Cal.App. 5th 1098, the Sixth Appellate District held that once a worker returns to work full time, the employer owes no TD for time lost to attend medical treatment visits. Also, in Meadowbrook Ins. v. WCAB (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 432, the Third Appellate District held that an interpreter needed to proceed to a second bill review (SBR) to dispute a payment, even though the Administrative Director never adopted a fee schedule after implementation of SB 863. Rather, the preexisting schedule for payment of interpreter bills at CCR section 9795.3 supported the SBR process. Since the provider didn’t pursue SBR, its bill was deemed satisfied, and the WCAB lacked jurisdiction to over the issue.

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