What Insurance Companies are Telling Doctors to Think About You: Injured Workers, Your Treating Doctor, and Your Insurance Company: What You Need to Know

As an Injured Worker, you may come across terms such as “motivation factors,” “secondary gain,” and “victimization, ” noted somewhere within the reporting on your case. This can appear in a medical report or an analysis of your case that has prepared by an Insurance Company, Defense Attorney or an Investigator. Some of these reports, which use these terms, you will never see. The documents are generated as attorney work-product and are not discoverable. In addition, as an Injured Worker, you also may not see any medical reports that deal with your mental health. Psychiatric or Psychological reports that discuss these factors are not provided to unrepresented injured workers.

How Do these Observations Come Into Play?

 

work injury claim form for injured worker

 

Insurance Companies educate doctors on issues such as motivation, secondary gain, and victimization. They do so because they want these doctors to report on those factors. It allows the insurance company an opportunity to size up the injured worker. Additionally, these reports can be reviewed by later evaluating physicians, which can clue in later avaluators as to these issues. If the matter goes to Trial, the Workers’ Compensation Judge will also be informed of these factors as well.

The State Compensation Insurance Fund, one of the major insurance companies in California produced a guide for physicians to assist them in industrial medical treatment. The book is called “A TREATING PHYSICIAN’S GUIDE to Patient Care in the Workers’ Compensation System.” This guide discusses in detail “motivation” issues.

What Is a Motivating Factor and Why is it Important?

Motivation, in the view of insurance companies, works both ways for an Injured Worker. Some Injured Workers, for a variety of reasons, i.e. family, dedication to the job or profession, have a strong desire to recover from their injury and resume their work activities. Other Workers, for a variety of reasons, i.e. family, substance abuse, unhappiness with the job, other medical conditions delaying recovery, have a decreased desire to recover from their injury and resume work activities.

Per the SCIF Guide, “[m]ost risk factors for delayed recovery are associated with the level of motivation to return to work. Experienced vocational rehabilitation professionals usually can recall at least one example of phenomenal recovery of function following severe trauma. These individuals have the will to recover and refuse to accept disability, despite the extensive injury. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those individuals who persistently complain of pain and other subjective symptoms, with little or no objective findings (that is, they are functionally disabled without evidence of physiologic impairment). The importance of motivation cannot be overstated. The physician must consciously assess patient motivation and attempt specific psychotherapeutic interventions when appropriate. The earlier the physician can identify patients at increased risk for delayed recovery and chronic disability, the greater the potential to arrest the process and return the patient to a productive lifestyle.”

In sum, your Treating Physician, besides treating you, is sizing you up as to why you are there.

Anything that can occur in the examining room is being judged. It can be as simple as the clothes being worn. For women, whether they have had their nails done. Other examples would be the smell of alcohol on their breath, the smell of marijuana or cigarette smoke on their body. Some doctors have even made an observation of an Injured Worker in the offices waiting room or even in the parking lot of the facility.

What is Secondary Gain?

The SCIF Guide explains and defines secondary gain as follows “[t]he assumption has been that disability behavior is learned because the same impairment produces very different behavior in different individuals. There are a number of psychological influences that reinforce the disabled role and counteract the desire to recover.

The term “secondary gain” has been used to describe the factors that contribute to the maintenance of symptoms and inhibition of work performance. In essence, they create an advantage to persistent disability behavior. Secondary gain is distinct from malingering in that it involves unconscious phenomena that go[es] beyond monetary support. The three identified types of secondary gain are:

  • Sympathy, attention, and support.
  • Being excused from responsibility, obligation or challenge.
  • Influence over important people by virtue of their acceptance that the individual is sick

There have been scientific studies that have shown that victims of child sexual abuse have issues when treating for medical conditions. In a paper that was presented in 1998, entitled

Psychological Profiles of Rehabilitation Patients Reporting Childhood Sexual Abuse by Disorbio and Bruns noted that “Patients reporting abuse were significantly more likely to be female, psychologically distressed, suicidal, prone to using drugs and tobacco, report family problems and complain of physical and pain symptoms more than nonabused patients.” [emphasis added]

The California Workers’ Compensation System provides that workers are to be taken as they are and that they are entitled to receive medical attention to cure and relieve from the effects of the injury. Further, treating the non-industrial to treat the industrial is an accepted aspect of the law. Therefore, the workers’ compensation system must accept and treat or accept these issues as industrial even though they may be considered an issue of “secondary gain.” These individuals may be considered “eggshell” patients. Regardless of that fact, they are still entitled to unapportioned medical treatment to cure or relieve from the effects of the injury in accordance with Labor Code Section 4600.

 

Who Would Not Feel Victimized to Some Extent?

  • Per the SCIF Guide, “the feeling of “victimization” (that, of having suffered an injustice, of society owing something) is often a factor in secondary gain for workers’ compensation patients. The current workers’ compensation system may foster illness behavior in a number of ways:
  • Providing tax-free income, although usually less than full wages, may not constitute a financial hardship on employees earning near the minimum wage.
    Current laws provide compensation for being disabled, which may make a full effort toward rehabilitation difficult.
  • Disputed cases typically last more than a year. During this time the individual avoids work because he or she feels it would adversely affect the claim. In addition, litigation can prolong symptoms by creating unrealistic expectations of a large financial reward. Patients may recover quickly when their claim is settled.
  • Often multiple physicians evaluate individuals and subject them to extensive diagnostic testing. This extensive treatment reinforces the perception that the patient may have a serious medical condition.”

To SCIF’s credit, it identifies the fact that there are outside forces which create the feelings of victimization. Victimization, to some degree, should be taken as a serious issue. Some Injured Workers are tossed around and frankly abused by the system and the players within the system. Frequently, I concur with the Injured Worker feeling that the system has not been entirely fair to them. Again, we must all understand that this is a “compensation” system and not a “get rich” or “get a financial advantage system.” It is designed to compensate for “loss.”

What is Victimization?

Victimization is a controversial label. Injured Workers are not legal scholars who understand the process that they are going through. There are many players involved in workers’ compensation who have financial interests that may not be in line with the Injured Worker. There is the employer who wants to limit their risk and liability, i.e. injury costs or increased premiums. There is the insurance company which wants to limit liability. There are medical providers who want to make money for themselves. There are attorneys, both Applicant and Defense, who want to make money as a result of the claim. There are Judges who want to move the case to resolution. The Injured Worker is caught in the middle of these diverging interests.

What is Recommended by Insurance Companies to Address these Issues?

Per the SCIF Guide, “[t]he treating physician can play a key role in the prevention of delayed recovery. When the disabled employee has persistent symptoms, the temptation is for the physician to respond by providing additional rest and time off from work. This common therapeutic approach actually creates a vicious cycle that prolongs recovery and perpetuates the sick role. Transitional work is the most effective approach to the prevention of chronic disability. It should be a consideration on the first visit and an integral part of the treatment plan.”

These recommendations are pathetic. If an Injured Worker has persistent symptoms, the physician should have a discussion with the patient and try to get to the root of the problem. A persistent symptom may mean that there is more serious problem present. Further, some physicians, due to their limited time with the worker or other reasons, do not want to hear more and wish to ignore the complaints. It is sad but true. Returning an Injured Worker back on the job does not solve or cure the underlying medical condition.

As an Injured Worker, Where Can I Get Legal Advice?

 

Attorney with Injured worker

 

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers (SJDB), the Settlement of Your Workers’ Compensation Case, and Case of Beltran vs. Structural Steel: What You Need to Know

In a recent “Noteworthy” Workers’ Compensation Case, Beltran vs. Structure Steel Fabricators, 2018 Cal. Wrk.Comp P.D. Lexis, the WCAB changed the nature of Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers. This article is meant to explain the change to Injured Workers and what they are to expect when their cases are settled. Further, it will explain what may further transpire in the litigation process.

WhatAre Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers?

In 2013, the Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher changed.

Per the DIR, “ Employees injured on or after Jan. 1, 2013, with injuries that result in permanent partial disability, and whose employer does not offer other regular, modified or alternative work, may also qualify for the SJDB voucher. The offer must be made within 60 days after receipt by the claims administrator of the Physician’s Return-to-Work & Voucher Report (Form DWC-AD 10133.36) The voucher amount is $6000 for all levels of permanent disability and can be used for training at a California public school or any other provider listed on the state’s eligible training provider list. It can also be used to pay licensing or certification and testing fees, to purchase tools required by a training course, to purchase computer equipment of up to $1,000 and to reimburse up to $500 in miscellaneous expenses. Up to 10 percent, or $600, may be used to pay for the services of a licensed placement agency or vocational counselor. No more than 10 percent of the value of the voucher can be used for vocational & return to work counseling.”

The Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers are valuable in that an Employee is entitled some additional funds from the State of California. Per the DIR, Employees injured on or after January 1, 2013, who have received a supplemental job displacement benefit voucher (SJDB), may also qualify for an additional one-time $5,000 payment.   The Return-to-Work Supplement Program (RTWSP) will mail approved applicants a $5,000 check that can be used to supplement the earnings lost from being injured.   Date of injury must be on or after January 1, 2013. The DIR indicates that the Employee must have received an SJDB voucher for that injury, and RTWSP must receive the application within one year from the date they were mailed the SJDB voucher

It was the intention of the legislators that Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers were not allowed to be settled. In fact, there was a period of time in which Judges were placed on alert to make sure that the voucher was not settled as part of agreements. The Beltran case, however, will change Judge’s approaches towards their willingness to approve settlements which include the resolution of the voucher.

What has changed with respect to Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers?

Per Beltran, the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Voucher can now be resolved in certain circumstances. In Beltran, the WCAB allowed for the settlement of the voucher. The WCAB found that the Judge was to “consider the evidence and determine whether the case involves “serious and good faith issues” that could lead to the entire defeat of the worker’s entitlement to benefits.” See Lexis Nexis.

How will this change my settlement documents?

Your settlement documents, which include the resolution of the voucher, will now include within it language expressing the fact that there are serious and good faith issues that could lead to the entire defeat of your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.

In addition to stating this, it is likely a Defendant will provide further explanation. Sometimes, such language can be upsetting to the injured worker. While the statement is merely the Defendant’s position, it is listed in the settlement documents which are public records. Further, the injured worker may disagree with some of the representations.

There are a variety of reasons that can be used to express” serious and good faith issues” concerning entitlement to benefits. Essentially, there are three bases to deny a claim: legal, factual or medical.

Legal Defenses can be things such as a lack of coverage, the statute of limitation, or that the facts do not give rise to a finding of arising out of and in the course and scope of employment. Further, there are legal defenses such as the Post-Termination Defense and the Good Faith Personnel Action defense.

Factual Defenses mean that there are witnesses or documents which dispute the accounting of your injury. For example, your employer denied that he said harmful things to you.

Medical Defenses mean that there is a medical opinion that exists that finds that the injury was not industrial.

What does this mean to me?

There will be more attempts to have the supplemental job displacement benefit vouchers resolved in settlements. There may be some Defense Attorneys or Carriers trying to demand the settlement of the voucher. If so, they may be more aggressive to get information or documentation to defeat the voucher. Further, Insurance Companies may be more aggressive to pursue defenses that would lead to the defeat of your workers’ compensation claim for benefits in entirety.

Also, there may be some delay in the approval of your case. If this language is within your settlement and the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Voucher is resolved, the WCJ will scrutinize the settlement and hold it up if there is not enough explanation as to what evidence would create a total bar to settlement. If a settlement is submitted for approval, a Judge may set the matter for adequacy to address the issue.

Where Can I Get Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) & Workers’ Compensation: What You Need to Know

California Workers’ Compensation Law provides for the assessment of Permanent Disability based upon the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment 5th Edition. When determining Whole Person Impairment, the AMA Guides employs an analysis of the injuries impact on Activities of Daily Living.

Whole Person Impairment assignment is important for determining Permanent Disability. The purpose of the AMA Guides, within the California framework, is to provide a Whole Person Impairment for each injured body part. This Whole Person Impairment is then placed into a formula to calculate the Injured Worker’s Permanent Disability percentage. It is that percentage which translates into monetary compensation.

This article is meant to explain what are the Activities of Daily Living, how they are analyzed, and how they can impact the assessment of the Injured Worker’s Whole Person Impairment.

Impairment Ratings and Activities of Daily Living, What is the Relationship?

Per the AMA Guides, “Impairment percentages or ratings developed by medical specialists are consensus-derived estimates that reflect the severity of the medical condition and the degree to which the impairment decreases an individual’s ability to perform common activities of daily living (ADL), excluding work.

Impairment ratings were designed to reflect functional limitations and not a disability. The whole person impairment percentages listed in the Guides estimate the impact of the impairment on the individual’s overall ability to perform activities of daily living, excluding work, as listed in Table 1-2. 4 Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.” at Page 4.

The fact that the AMA Guides excludes consideration of work activities provides some irony to the fact that the Guides are used to compensate Injured Workers on their Workers’ Compensation cases using Activities of Daily Living. In handling California Workers’ Compensation cases, these cases, there is always the concern that an Injured Worker may not be adequately compensated for their inability to perform their occupation, trade or job.

Impairment Ratings and Activities of Daily Living are related. In certain assessments of Whole Person Impairment, there are ranges of Whole Person Impairment within the tables for particular medical conditions. The impact of the injury on ADLs can impact the assessment of the Whole Person Impairment by the evaluating physician. Certain tables, the ranges are not very large. On other tables, the ranges are quite large. If the impact of the medical condition is significant to Activities of Daily Living, it is likely that the Examining Physician will provide a Whole Person Impairment number that is within the high range or the class or table.

What are the Activities of Daily Living?

Per the AMA Guides, Activities of Daily Living “include such activities as self-care, personal hygiene, communication, ambulation, travel, sexual function, and sleep. “

How are the Activities of Daily Living broken down?

Per the AMA Guides 5th Edition, Table 1-2, See Page 599, the following are the definitions of each ADL.

Self Care:
  • Urinating
  • Defecating
  • Brushing Teeth
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Combing Hair
  • Bathing
  • Dressing Oneself
  • Eating
Communication:
  • Writing
  • Typing
  • Seeing
  • Hearing
  • Speaking
Physical Activities:
  • Standing
  • Sitting
  • Reclining
  • Walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Tactile Feeling
  • Tasting
  • Smelling
Sensory function:
  • Nonspecialized Grasping
  • Lifting
  • Tactile
  • Hand Activities
  • Discrimination
Travel:
  • Riding
  • Driving
  • Flying
Sexual function:
  • Orgasm
  • Ejaculation
  • Lubrication
  • Erection
Sleep:
  • Restful
  • Nocturnal sleep pattern

How is Impairment of Activities of Daily Living evaluated?

Limitations are to be judged by the medical disorders and not by other factors. Factors such as lack of money or transportation are not to be considered when addressing ADLs. See AMA Guides.

How is the impact of Activities of Daily Living assessed?

“In the context of the individual’s overall situation, the quality of these activities is judged by their independence, appropriateness, effectiveness, and sustainability. It is necessary to define the extent to which the individual is capable of initiating and participating in these activities independent of supervision or direction.” See AMA Guides at P. 361.

Who makes the Assessment on the impact of Activities of Daily Living and How?

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, the evaluating physician, either the Agreed Medical Examiner, Qualified Medical Evaluator, or Treating Physician, will make the assessment of the impact of activities of daily living.

In many Qualified Medical Evaluations and Agreed Medical Evaluations, the evaluating doctors will either directly ask the injured worker about their ADLs or provide the Injured Worker a written questionnaire to make such an assessment. Per the AMA Guides, “[t]he examiner must assess not simply the number of activities that are restricted but the overall degree of restriction or combination of restrictions.

For example, a person who is able to cook and clean might be considered to have marked restriction of daily activities if he or she were too fearful to leave home to shop or go to the physician’s office.” AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition, Page 361.

Where Can I Get Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.

Firefighting, Smoke Inhalation and Workers’ Compensation: What You Need to Know

Firefighting exposes Safety Personnel to smoke inhalation. Smoke from fires contains a large variety of substances that can cause respiratory diseases.  Fires release a large variety of items into the atmosphere. If this smoke is inhaled, it can cause lung damage. Smoke generated by the heating and burning of the materials is also a factor. These materials contain toxic gases, particles, and other contaminants. Fires, depending upon where they occur, can burn both natural and synthetic materials. For example, smoke from forest or grass fires may contain more natural materials than the smoke from a warehouse fire.

What Compounds are in Smoke?

Smoke inhalation contains many different compounds. These can include the following items:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Acrolein
  • Phosgene
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Chlorine
  • Cyanide
  • Ammonia
  • Aldehydes
  • Nitric acid
  • Nitrous oxide.

What Products Cause Toxic Smoke?

Smoke inhalation, that is toxic, can emanate from a variety of sources. These sources can include the following items:

  • Wood
  • Cotton
  • Paper
  • Petroleum products
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVCs)
  • Plastics, refrigeration materials
  • Soot
  • Wallpaper
  • Lacquered wood

Is the nature of the Smoke Important?

Yes. The nature of the smoke is important. Data concerning the composition of the smoke, as well as the level of the exposure, is very important with respect to the assessment of an industrial injury.

How Does this Smoke Exposure Impact an Injured Worker?

 

The nature and extent of the exposure can determine the impact on the Workers’ health. Two types of exposures are Acute Exposures and Chronic Exposures.

Acute Exposure- Short-term exposure is called an acute exposure By acute, it is anticipated that the individual will make a full recovery. Acute exposures can also possibly lead to respiratory symptoms.

Chronic Exposure- Continuous or repeated contact with a toxic substance over a long period of time (months or years) is considered a Chronic Exposure. Chronic Exposure can lead to chronic respiratory responses such as bronchitis symptoms, reduction in baseline function, the excess annual decline in lung function.

Are there any Special Benefits from Workers’ Compensation for Firefighters and Lung Disease?

Yes. There are various evidentiary presumptions that may apply to lung disease claims. There is the Cancer Presumption. The Cancer Presumption includes Lung Cancer. Also, there is an extended total temporary disability benefit for pulmonary fibrosis or chronic lung disease to 240 weeks. See Labor Code Section 4656.

Is there an Association between Smoke Inhalation and Lung Disease?

Yes. There is “data suggest that wildland firefighting is associated with decreases in lung function and increases in airway responsiveness independent of a history of cigarette smoking.” See. The effect of smoke inhalation on lung function and airway responsiveness in wildland firefighters. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Dec;146(6):1469-73.

Is there confirmation that Firefighting is a factor in lung disease?

Yes. Studies have shown and confirm “earlier reports of a chronic effect of firefighting on pulmonary function and suggest an association of this occupational with increased respiratory symptoms and disease independent of cigarette smoke.” See The effect of occupational exposure on pulmonary function: a longitudinal evaluation of firefighters and nonfirefighters. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1982 Mar;125(3):319-22.

Is there any concern when there are repeated acute exposure during firefighting?

Yes. Studies have found that “[t]he repeated acute exposures during firefighting augment the burden of a chronic airway and systemic inflammation and may eventually lead to allergic sensitization of the airways and increased incidence of rhinitis and asthma after prolonged exposure.” Acute effects of smoke exposure on airway and systemic inflammation in forest firefighters J Asthma Allergy. 2018; 11: 81–88.

Are There any Studies concerning Firefighting and Chronic Disease?

Yes. There are studies which indicate that “smoke inhalation of particulate matter and smoke during firefighting induces a local inflammatory response within the lungs and allergic sensitization, which subsequently initiates a systemic response resulting in the adverse health consequences associated with air pollution exposure.”

One study found that ”a short time of low-intensity exposure is adequate in order to generate this inflammatory procedure. Although this effect may be of minor clinical significance for young healthy firefighters, it is inevitable that susceptible subjects establish chronic cardiopulmonary disease. Awareness should be heightened among firefighters to avoid exposure and to adequately use the self-contained breathing apparatuses during operations.” See Prolonged occupational exposure leads to allergic airway sensitization and chronic airway and systemic inflammation in professional firefighters Respiratory Medicine Volume 118 2016, P. 7-14

Where Can I Get Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.

telephonic representation

Telephonic Representation via CourtCall & Workers’ Compensation: What You Need to Know

The California Worker’s Compensation System allows for parties to conduct remote court appearances. This allows certain parties to appear telephonically. This article is intended to discuss the nature of telephonic representation. A Party’s employment of telephonic representation can have some advantages as well as disadvantages within the Workers’ Compensation System.

Is Telephonic Representation Ordinary?

Yes. Telephonic representation is not part of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board system. There is nothing in the Labor Code concerning it. Rather, it is an outside vendor who both provides the infrastructure to allow for it as well as administrate it. The WCAB partners with Courtcall which provides the system to allow for remote court appearances and telephonic representation. Parties employing Courtcall must pay a fee to Courtcall.

Why Do Attorneys Use CourtCall?

Courtcall allows for attorneys or representatives to save tune. Courcall can allow a party to avoid unnecessary travel, extreme traffic and harsh weather conditions. For example, during certain times of the year, some highways in California may be closed to normal traffic and prevent an in-person appearance. This can occur during winter time when roads can be closed due to snowfall.

CourtCall can reduce the billable hours for the appearance and save the client some money. This can be great for attorneys who are not allowed to bill for travel or who are working on a flat fee arrangement. CourtCall can remove the travel time from the appearance and allows the attorney/representative to work on other matters. It also allows for more flexibility in physical appearances. For example, an attorney can appear in San Diego in the morning and Eureka in the afternoon.

What is the Purpose of Telephonic Representation?

The CourtCall system allows for lawyers and representatives to make routine workers’ compensation appearances by telephone from their offices, homes or other convenient locations. See DIR. The participants of telephonic representation are required to be on a “landline” and have access to a fax machine.

Is CourtCall Available for All Workers’ Compensation Courts and Judges?

No. Not all Workers’ Compensation Judges allow for CourtCall. Many, however, participate. The nature and extent of their participation in a particular Courtroom for Courtcalls depends upon the Judge. The parties seeking to use telephonic representation must check in advance whether they are able to do so.

What Hearings Can You Appear by CourtCall?

Per the DWC (Division of Workers’ Compensation) only Mandatory Settlement Conferences, Status Conferences, and Priority Conferences are eligible for telephonic representation. CourtCall is not available for Trials, Expedited Hearings or for hearings with an unrepresented injured worker. It has only been used on occasion for Lien Conferences.

How Does Courtcall Work?

Per the DIR, the CourtCall staff coordinates and facilitates the telephonic appearances. The calling party may speak to the Judge in the presence of the other parties. They can also speak privately and directly to other parties outside of the Judge’s hearing. Fax machines at the district offices coordinate the circulation of documents among the parties.

Is there a Fee for Using CourtCall?

Yes. Courtcall is a private company and there is a charge for the service.

What is Your Experience Using CourtCall?

Overall, I have found the use of Courtcall has been a very positive experience.

At times, I have had calendar conflicts involving significant travel. Courtcall has helped me resolve these conflicts and make both appearances. Also, it has saved my offices’ considerable travel time. This saves time can be used to work on the cases rather than being stuck in traffic.

The results from the appearances have been quite satisfactory. I do not feel that the results would have been different with a physical appearance.

While I prefer not to make Courtcall a primary way of making appearances, I continue to employ it as a tool to allow for my offices to maintain quality representation. Courtcall allows my offices to prevent an unnecessary delay to an injured workers’ case. For instance, before Courtcall, I would have to request a continuance from the court on particular matters. Now, the need for certain continuances have been eliminated.

How Do the Judge’s Handle Courtcall Matters?

Based upon my experience, Judges have acted extremely professional in their handling of Courtcall matters. An Injured Worker should not be too concerned that a party on their case is appearing via Courtcall.

Are There Any Disadvantages in Using CourtCall?

Yes. While it had nothing to do with the actual case, there are many times that an attorney or representative will run into an attorney or representative on another case at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. These incidental meetings many times result in settlement or progress being made on other cases.

Should I Be Concerned That A Party Is Appearing by CourtCall?

Yes. I would recommend a heightened awareness on behalf of an Injured Worker appearing on a matter in which CourtCall is being employed by one of the parties.

If there is settlement authority, the paperwork should be provided to you at the hearing to sign and be submitted to the Workers’ Compensation Judge for approval. There is no excuse concerning the circulation of the documents. The facsimile machine provided by CourtCall allows for the immediate circulation of documents.

In sum, there should be an insistence that your matter is treated in the same manner as if the party appearing by CourtCall was appearing in person.

Where Can I Get Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.