After the injury occurs, it should be reported to the employer right away. Our office will file the appropriate applications at the WCAB to establish jurisdiction over the defendants and stop the Statute of Limitations from expiring. We will also notify your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier of our representation. If you have been off work for more than 90 days, then we will discuss the possibility of vocational retraining. We may assign a Qualified Rehabilitation Representative (QRR) to assist with a vocational rehabilitation plan. Please recall that if your injury is after January 1, 2004, your right to vocational retraining has essentially been eliminated.
A doctor usually will find your condition to be permanent and stationary within 3 to 12 months of the date of your injury. If your condition is more serious and requires surgery, then it typically takes between 6 to 12 months for your condition to be permanent and stationary. This of course varies with the type of surgery contemplated.
Once your condition is permanent and stationary, we will proceed to attempt to resolve your case by a settlement. We will either attempt to resolve your case based upon your treating doctor’s permanent and stationary report, or by way of formal medical/legal discovery. With formal medical/legal discovery, you will be examined by either a QME or an AME. If your injury is after January 1, 2005, we will proceed with a state panel QME if an AME is not possible.
Once the permanent and stationary reports are in, we may obtain a rating of the report from the Rating Bureau at the WCAB. After receipt of the ratings, we will advise you of the analysis and propose a settlement to the defendant. We will attempt to informally resolve the case with the defendant.
If you are involved in a vocational rehabilitation plan, it may be wise to wait for the conclusion of the plan before beginning settlement negotiations.
If we are unable to resolve the case with the defendant, then we will set your case for a hearing at the WCAB. It typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to get a hearing date. The WCAB will notify you of the dates of your hearing. We will receive a copy of any correspondence you receive from the WCAB or the Rehabilitation Unit. Usually, these matters do not call for any action on your part. If they do, we will contact you.
The first hearing date at the court will be a mandatory settlement conference. If we are unable to settle at the conference, then the case will be set for a formal trial. We can typically get a trial date in several months. After a trial it can take the Judge anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months to issue a decision. This varies upon the complexity of the case. If an appeal is filed, then the resolution of the case can be delayed for several additional months.
All times ranges are very rough approximations based upon past experience. Each case is different and the time frame for your case may very well differ. The typical average time to resolve a case without vocational rehabilitation is approximately 2 years. If you participate in vocational retraining, then matters could run for 3 years or longer.
Finally, please recall that our representation is limited to your workers’ compensation case only. It does not include representation for any other mater or causes of action including State Disability Claims, Long Term Disability Claims, Retirement Matters, Personal Injury Claims, Bill Collection Matters, Discrimination Claims, Wrongful Termination Claims, FEHA, ADA, or Third Party Claims. If we do agree to represent you for any other matter, then a written agreement will need to be executed. If you have questions or concerns regarding matters other than workers’ compensation, you should immediately seek the assistance of an additional winter springs injury attorney. We will of course continue to represent you in the workers’ compensation case.