Update to WCAB Procedures, Effective September 14, 2020

Division Workers Comp

Please recall the WCAB began holding Trials and Expedited Hearings via video conferencing as of August 12, 2020.  Starting September 14, 2020, the WCAB will resume holding Lien Trials, which have been postponed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.  Lien Trials will be limited to just one per judge per day.

Therefore, starting September 14, 2020, the emergency procedures for hearings at the WCAB will be as follows:

  • The WCAB will continue to utilize a toll-free conference call system for all Expedited Hearings, Status Conferences, Mandatory Settlement Conferences, Priority Conferences, and Trials. 
    • 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
    • Since August 15, 2020, hearing notices also include the judge’s conference lines
  • The WCAB will continue to hear up to 3 lien conferences per judge per calendar session.
  • Since August 17, 2020, the WCAB has made a video option available for Trials and Expedited Hearings, which will include Lien Trials starting September 14, 2020
    • Parties must call in telephonically first and the judge can provide the link to log on for video conferencing.
    • This video option is through a platform called LifeSize, which is free to all parties.  However, parties must download the program and there will be certain minimum requirements to successfully run the software. 
    • A smartphone app can be used to participate, but this option is not recommended
    • Instructions on the system requirements, where to download the program, and how to use the program can be found at https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/DWC_address/Lifesize-outside-user-guide.pdf
  • The WCAB will NOT hold in-person conferences or hearings.
  • Injured workers seeking assistance should contact the DWC call center at (909) 383-4522.

The procedure for filings with the WCAB remains 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. 

The official notice from the WCAB can be found at https://www.dir.ca.gov/DIRNews/2020/2020-77.html.

Our Thoughts

We at Adelson McLean thank the WCAB for showing the flexibility necessary for all of us to effectively move our claims towards resolution.

The WCAB has been working hard to allow for the movement and resolution of cases despite the limitations imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  The telephone conferences have allowed for regular conferences to proceed and now with the video conferencing provided through LifeSize, we have begun to see movement in cases which require a Trial.  Cases which were on hold for liens can now move forward, as the WCAB has been holding lien conferences and will now hold Lien Trials.

While these technology-based options are helpful, we believe it is more effective for your attorneys to contact, discuss, and attempt to resolve any claims and disputes ahead of any hearing.  We at Adelson McLean continue to utilize our extensive contacts throughout the workers’ compensation community, leveraging our experience and familiarity with everyone involved to move cases towards resolution as quickly as possible. 

Please note we have had several informal settlement conferences with various applicant’s firms, resolving multiple claims in a single session.  If you would like for 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 held informal settlement conferences where multiple defense law offices have participated, as a courtesy to our clients who may have multiple claims among different firms, as we believe the only good file is a closed file.

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

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