CALIFORNIA COMPENSATION CASES
Vol. 88, No. 5 May 2023
A Report of En Banc and Significant Panel Decisions of the WCAB and Selected Court Opinions of Related Interest, With a Digest of WCAB Decisions...
By Hon. Susan V. Hamilton, Former Assistant Secretary and Deputy Commissioner, California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board
In 2022 there were 7,490 wildfires in California. They burned 362,455 acres...
By Christopher Mahon
Should temporary workers be treated separately under workers’ compensation law due to additional employment and income risks they may incur after workplace injuries? A new study...
Here's a noteworthy panel decision where a family member conveyed essential information to the AME on behalf of the injured employee. The Lexis headnote is below.
CA - NOTEWORTHY PANEL DECISIONS...
Oakland, CA – Part II of a California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) research series on low- volume/high-cost drugs used to treat California injured workers identifies three Dermatological drugs...
Larson's Spotlight on Odd-Lot, Statute of Limitations, Agricultural Employer, and Hazard of Employment. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.
IL: Claimant Fails to Establish Entitlement to Permanent Total Benefits Under "Odd-Lot" Theory
An injured employee may generally establish entitlement to PTD benefits in one of three ways, namely: by a preponderance of medical evidence; by showing a diligent but unsuccessful job search; or by demonstrating that, because of age, training, education, experience, and condition, there are no available jobs for a person in his circumstance. This third mechanism is generally called the "odd-lot" rule.
In a recent appellate decision from Illinois, the court reversed a decision by the state's Commission that found a claimant was entitled to PTD benefits on an "odd-lot" theory. The court observed that the claimant made no argument that applying for cashier positions at nine auto dealerships and occasionally looking in the Sunday newspaper constituted a diligent job search. Indeed, the evidence failed to support a finding that the claimant's meager efforts to find work constituted a diligent but unsuccessful job search. In the absence of medical evidence to support a claim of total disability-various doctors each voiced opinions that the claimant could work, albeit with varying restrictions-the claimant had the burden of proving he was so handicapped he would not be employed regularly in any well-known branch of the labor market. The court found that claimant failed to introduce any evidence that there was no stable job market for a person of his age, skills, training, work history, and physical condition. In the absence of any such evidence, the Commission's finding that the claimant was entitled to PTD benefits as an "odd-lot" was error.
See PROFESSIONAL TRANSPORTATION, INC., Appellant, v. ILLINOIS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION 2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 33.
Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 83.01.
CT: Specific Use of Term, "Hypertension," Not Required to Put Claimant on Notice That Statute of Limitations Had Begun to Run on Claim
The time period for notice or claim generally does not begin to run until the claimant, as a reasonable person, should recognize the nature, seriousness, and probable compensable character of his or her injury or disease. In a recent decision from Connecticut, an appellate court affirmed a determination that a claim was untimely under the state's special Heart and Hypertension Act (§ 7-433c) for police officers. While the medical professional failed to use the term "hypertension" in communicating the diagnosis to the employee, the evidence showed that the plaintiff was prescribed antihypertensive medication and notations were placed in his medical records that he had a history of hypertension. This was sufficient to support the Board's determination.
EDWARD WABNO v. CITY OF DERBY 2012 Conn. App. LEXIS 28.
Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 126.05.
UT: Recreational Hunting Operations Were Not "Agricultural," Employer Required to Provide Comp Coverage
An appellate court from Utah recently held that an employer was required to provide workers' compensation benefits to its employee; recreational hunting operations did not include "feeding, harvesting, or management of wildlife" under Utah Code Ann. § 35A-4-206(1)(a). The employer was not an agricultural employer under Utah Code Ann. § 34A-2-103(5)(a)(i)(A).
Peterson Hunting, Petitioner, v. Labor Commission and Nicholas Jay Frohardt, Respondents 2012 Utah App. LEXIS 17.
VA: Raised Chair, With No "Safety" Bar, Was Hazard of Employment and Correctional Officer's Injury Arose Out of and In Course of Employment
Reversing a decision by the state's Workers' Compensation Commission that had, in turn, affirmed a denial of a claim filed by a correctional officer who sustained injury when he slid from his elevated chair to answer the door, a Virginia appellate court recently found that in the unique circumstances of the case, claimant's action in sliding down from a raised chair for his feet to reach the ground to accomplish his job-related tasks was not an action that he would have been equally exposed to apart from the conditions of his employment. He, therefore, proved by a preponderance of the evidence that his injury arose out of his employment. The employer contended that there nothing unusual occurred at the time of the injury and the Commission, utilizing a "stair step" theory, had agreed. The Commission indicated that since the effort of getting down from the chair involved nothing more than the action of taking a normal step on a staircase, the injury was unrelated to a hazard of employment. The appellate court disagreed, noting that (a) the height of a normal step -- eight inches was not the height of the drop from a normal chair to the floor and (b) the undisputed evidence demonstrated that claimant had to contort his body to slide down from the raised chair before his feet would reach the ground each time the doorbell rang. For further discussion of this case, see http://www.workcompwriter.com/by-accident-the-oft-ignored-provision-in-workers-compensation-law/.
JAMIE LEE DOVELL v. COFFEEWOOD CORRECTIONAL CENTER/COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA 2012 Va. App. LEXIS 17.
Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 46.03.
Source: Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, the nation's leading authority on workers' compensation law.
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