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WORKERS' COMPENSATION

 

The Workers' Compensation practice group focuses on the defense of employers and insurance carriers in workers' compensation claims by employees all over California. Recent clients include national retail stores, national hardware / home improvement stores, trucking firms, commercial property maintenance firms and agricultural businesses.

Our services include:

Advice: We provide advice for handling claims and identifying insurance fraud.
Litigation: We handle workers' compensation claims from initial claim through trial or C&R.
Subrogation: In the event of a loss, we pursue recovery of compensation benefits on behalf of employers and insurers.

Representative Matters
  • Represented municipality in a variety of workers' comp cases, including matters involving law enforcement and fire personnel.
  • Successfully defended complex claim for death benefits through trial and reconsideration.
  • Achieved favorable results in defense of recent serious and willful misconduct case that was filed following an alleged machine malfunction.
  • In an accepted case for a hernia injury, the applicant later amended the Application for Adjudication to include a substantial but unreported back injury. The matter proceeded to trial and the court issued a finding for the employer that the back injury was non-industrial.

Seminars

Expedited Jury Trials: The Why, When and How of the New California Law

Effective January 1, 2011, California has enacted statutes for Expedited Jury Trials (EJT). Sharon Hightower, assistant managing partner of Ericksen Arbuthnot's San Jose office, has prepared a seminar to explain this new statute to attorneys, clients and insurance carriers. She will explain what types of cases are best suited for EJT and how cases are selected for this alternative trial option. Her presentation includes the following topics:
  • Background of the new law
  • Pre-trial procedures
  • Rules
  • Selection process for cases
  • Trial procedures:
    • Admissibility of evidence
    • Voir dire
    • Challenges
    • Required deadlines

For more information about EJT, see "California Offers a New Trial Option."

Workers' Compensation Guidelines for Employers

This seminar covers basic guidelines for employers. Members of the practice group have presented this seminar to private clients and associations. Information offered in the seminar includes the following:
  • The employer's option to purchase a workers' compensation insurance policy or to meet the criteria required to be self-insured;
  • The employer's duty to post notices regarding information about their insurance policy, the insurance carrier, and contact information for both the nearest office of the Labor Commissioner and a doctor who handles emergency care;
  • Meeting the reporting requirements of the insurance carrier and the Department of Industrial Relations;
  • The court's definition of an employee.

Recent Developments in Workers' Compensation Law

This seminar is designed to help California employers understand recent legislative changes and the impact of recent Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) En Banc decisions. The changes and cases to be discussed include the following:
  • Almarez/Guzman II and Ogilvie II decisions.
    Strategies in light of these decisions and potential impact on PD determinations.
  • Average Weekly Wage Increases Maximum Compensation Rates in 2010.
    Changes in California's State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) will increase minimum and maximum temporary total disability (TTD) rates for 2010 work injuries, as well as other workers' compensation benefits that have been tied to changes in the SAWW.
  • Impact of Medical Treatment Guidelines Implemented in 2009.
    A series of regulatory amendments over the last few years have embellished the MTUS (DWC Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule) to add what ACOEM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) did not cover. A new regulatory amendment adds a chronic pain guideline, a post-surgical physical medicine guideline and updates to the elbow chapter.