Update to WCAB Procedures, Effective June 8, 2020

Division Workers Comp

DWC and WCAB Continue to Expand Hearing Schedule at the District Offices

Please note, effective June 8, 2020, there are changes to the current emergency procedures for hearings at the WCAB:

  • The WCAB will continue to utilize a toll-free conference call system For all Expedited Hearings, Status Conferences, Mandatory Settlement Conferences, Priority Conferences, and case-in-chief Trials.
  • Beginning June 8, 2020, the WCAB will also hear up to 3 lien conferences per judge per calendar session and lien conferences in excess of that number will be continued.
  • All Lien Trials will still be continued at this time.
  • The WCAB will NOT hold in-person conferences or hearings.
  • ALL parties must call in to the judge’s conference call number at the start of the time of the hearing.  The conference call number and passwords for each judge are posted on the WCAB website at www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/DWC_address/DWC-judge-conference-lines.xlsx
  • Injured workers seeking assistance should contact the DWC call center at (909) 383-4522.

The procedure for filings with the WCAB will remain the same – all documents must be e-filed or mailed, e-signatures will be accepted on all documents, and there will be no walk-throughs or in-person filings/requests.  We will advise if there are any extensions to filing deadlines.

Our Thoughts

While minor, the addition of lien conferences to the current court conference call calendar system is welcome, as it should help move those liens along to resolution, allowing for a quicker closure of claims.  The WCAB continues to be sensitive to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which has caused everyone to adapt to the realities of social distancing. 

We note the current conference call procedure has been in place since April 13, 2020, and due to the nature of the conference call system, it remains imperative for us to be flexible and for your attorneys to contact, discuss, and attempt to resolve any dispute ahead of a hearing. 

The team at Adelson McLean has been able to utilize our extensive contacts throughout the workers’ compensation community, leveraging our experience and familiarity with the system and the various parties to continue moving cases to resolution as quickly as possible. 

During this crisis, we are keeping in close contact with our clients, employers and carriers, applicant’s and plaintiff’s counsels, lien claimants, and other defense law firms.  Using these close contacts, we are successfully resolving almost all discovery and legal disputes ahead of any hearing and have been able to settle many claims during this difficult time.  Video depositions have proceeded without any issues and we have used informal settlement conferences with various applicant’s firms, resolving multiple claims in a single afternoon. 

If you would like us to arrange an informal settlement conference with an applicant’s firm, please contact us as we’d be happy to facilitate this.  We have had sessions where multiple defense firms participated, as a courtesy to our clients who may have multiple claims among different firms, as we strongly believe the only good file is a closed file.

Please feel free to contact us if you should have any questions or comments.  Stay safe and stay healthy.

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