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WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARD (WCAB)

Labor Code §111 provides:

"The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, consisting of seven members, shall exercise all judicial powers vested in it under this code. In all other respects, the Division of Workers' Compensation is under the control of the administrative director and, except as to those duties, powers, jurisdiction, responsibilities, and purposes as are specifically vested in the appeals board, the administrative director shall exercise the powers of the head of a department within the meaning of Article 1 (commencing with Section 11150) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code with respect to the Division of Workers' Compensation which shall include supervision of, and responsibility for, personnel, and the coordination of the work of the division, except personnel of the appeals board."

8 CCR §10348 provides:

“In any case that has been regularly assigned to a workers' compensation judge, the judge shall have full power, jurisdiction and authority to hear and determine all issues of fact and law presented and to issue any interim, interlocutory and final orders, findings, decisions and awards as may be necessary to the full adjudication of the case, including the fixing of the amount of the bond required in Labor Code section 3715. Orders, findings, decisions and awards issued by a workers' compensation judge shall be the orders, findings, decisions and awards of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board unless reconsideration is granted.

A workers' compensation judge or a deputy commissioner may issue writs or summons, warrants of attachment, warrants of commitment and all necessary process in proceedings for direct and hybrid contempt in a like manner and to the same extent as courts of record.”

The WCAB is the equivalent of the Superior Court. All appeals from its decisions are by writ: "Any person affected by an order, decision, or award of the appeals board may, within the time limit specified in this section, apply to the Supreme Court or to the court of appeal for the appellate district in which he resides, for a writ of review." Labor Code §5950

Current members

All Regulations 1-22

Regulations relating to Pleadings 

Regulations relating to Evidence and Reports

WCAB Decisions are classified as 1) en banc: "A matter reassigned by the chairman on a majority vote of the commissioners to the Appeals Board as a whole in order to achieve uniformity of decision or in cases presenting novel issues." 2) Significant panel decisions: "Cases that are identified for dissemination by the WCAB in order to address new or recurring issues of importance to the workers' compensation community. Significant Panel Decisions have been reviewed by each of the commissioners, who agree that the decision merits general dissemination." 3) Noteworthy: a term used by LexisNexis for an opinion that "does one or more of the following: (1) Establishes a new rule of law, applies an existing rule to a set of facts significantly different from those stated in other decisions, or modifies, or criticizes with reasons given, an existing rule; (2) Resolves or creates an apparent conflict in the law; (3) Involves a legal issue of continuing public interest; (4) Makes a significant contribution to legal literature by reviewing either the development of workers' compensation law or the legislative, regulatory, or judicial history of a constitution, statute, regulation, or other written law; and/or (5) Makes a contribution to the body of law available to attorneys, claims personnel, judges, the Board, and others seeking to understand the workers' compensation law of California."

In an en banc decision, Guitron v. Santa Fe Extruders, at footnote 7, the Board notes: "While it is true that Appeals Board panel decisions are not binding precedent and have no stare decisis effect (Gee, supra, 96 Cal.App.4th at p. 1425, fn. 6 [67 Cal.Comp.Cases 236]), we consider them to the extent we find their  reasoning persuasive.  Unlike unpublished appellate court opinions, which, pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), may not be cited or relied on, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b), Appeals Board panel decisions are citable, even though they have no precedential value.   (See  Griffith v. Workers’  Comp.  Appeals  Bd.  (1989)  209 Cal.App.3d 1260, 1264, fn. 2 [54 Cal.Comp.Cases 145].)"

Policy and Procedural Manual

SB 863 made a major change to WCAB jurisdiction by establishing an Independent Medical Review (IMR) process that removed from the Board and the workers' compensation judges the issue of specific medical treatments. That is, the Board can no longer decide if a recommended, denied, or modified treatment request is medically necessary to cure or relieve. Such disputes now are decided under Labor Code §4610.5. See, too, Independent Bill Review (IBR)

See, too, California Constitution

 

Label Item Links Comments
Labor Code Exclusive jurisdiction, appeals, etc. LC §§5300-5318  
Regulations/Rules Rules of Practice and Procedure

Changes to Rules Effective 1/1/15

Final Statement of Reasons to Changes

Powers, Duties and Responsibilities

Walk-through Documents: “A "walk-through" document is a document that is presented to a workers' compensation judge for immediate action. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10414 (relating to the filing of declarations of readiness) and section 10544 (relating to notices of hearing), the following provisions shall govern walk-through documents.”

WCAB rules

Changes to Rules

Reasons for Changes

More rules

8 CCR §10417

 
  Ethical Standards of WCJs

Receipt of Salary by Workers' Compensation Judge
WCJ Regs

Salary regs
 
  Board Rule §10492. When Pleadings Deemed Amended: "The pleadings shall be deemed amended to conform to the stipulations and statement of issues agreed to by the parties on the record. Pleadings may be amended by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board to conform to proof." 8 CCR §10492
Cases  Crawford v. WCAB (1989) 213 Cal. App. 3d 156: A psychiatrist ordered to appear for a hearing on contempt for willful failure to comply with Rule 10606 sought a writ of prohibition. The Court held that "In vesting the WCAB with the power to punish contempt, the Legislature specified that the WCAB or any member thereof "may issue . . . all necessary process in proceedings for contempt, in like manner and to the same extent as courts of record."
Crawford v. WCAB
Forms    
Websites Workers' Compensation Appeals Board WCAB  
  About WCAB About WCAB  
Practice Tips Know the Rules of Practice and Procedure (see above) Policy and Procedural Manual  
Articles

DWC/WCAB Policy and Procedure Manual Revised

Judges and Jurisdiction - Where to Draw the Line

 

New Manual

Judges and Jurisdiction - Where to Draw the Line

 

 
Roundtable  
Miscellaneous    

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