Mar
10
2010
0

Good morning Salinas!

Old Town Salinas

Old Town Salinas

I’ve got a hearing at the WCAB in Salinas this morning.

If you’re around this morning, stop me and say hello!

Written by Jay Shergill in: Author,PDRater,Road Warrior | Tags: , , ,
Dec
06
2009
1

Duncan (SIF) v. WCAB (X.S.) – Life Pension, SAWW, COLA, and a partridge in a pear tree

It looks like someone took a SAWW to that COLA

It looks like someone took a SAWW to that COLA!!!

You’re probably just here to download the latest workers’ compensation case about the Cost of Living Adjustment and State Average Weekly Wage increases. [1][2] I’m not going to hold you in suspense – here’s the download link:

John Duncan (Subsequent Injuries Benefit Trust Fund) v. WCAB (X.S.), (W.C.A.B. No. ADJ1510738 / SJO0251902) Writ of Review 11/25/2009

Obviously, you need to read the entire decision for yourself.  Here’s my oversimplification of the case:

Whenever the injured worker is due life pension payments for injuries on or after 1/1/2003, you calculate those benefits, whenever they are due, by increasing them according to the yearly increases in the state average weekly wage starting on 1/1/2004.

If some of this seems familiar, its because this is the same case as XYZZXSJO2 which came out back in February 2009.   I had suggested back in February that the effect of the COLA increases on life pension payments today would be to increase them some 44% or so.

Still having trouble understanding the impact of this case?  Well, you could try my XYZZXSJO2 calculator to tell you what the life pension rate should be during a given year.  (Remember, this just tells you the rate – it is not a commutation calculator.  These are still in the works).

What are your thoughts on Duncan v. WCAB?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/79874304@N00/386160373/
  1. Photo courtesy of Sister72 []
  2. I refuse to apologize for that pun. []
Oct
12
2009
1

Ogilvie Calculations Made Simple, II

Back to the drawing board

Back to the drawing board

DOWNLOAD THE MATHEMATICAL PROOF AS A PDF!

A little while ago William S. Morris, an Applicant’s attorney, told me that the Ogilvie adjustment calculation could be further simplified. [1] He suggested the following[2] :

  1. Earnings Loss[3][4]
    1. L = (PIESSE – PIEA) / PIESSE
  2. Individualized Proportional Earnings Loss
    1. = (WPI / L) / 100
  3. DFEC Adjustment Factor
    1. = ([1.81/a] * .1) + 1
    2. = ( (1.81 * .1)/a) + 1
    3. = (.181/a) + 1
    4. = 1 + (.181/a)
  4. Ogilvie DFEC Adjusted Rating
    1. = WPI * DFEC Adjustment Factor
    2. = WPI * (1 + (.181/a) )
    3. = WPI * (1 + (.181 / Individualized Proportional Earnings Loss) )
    4. = WPI * (1 + (.181 / ( (WPI / L) / 100) ) )
    5. = WPI * (1 + (18.1 / ( (WPI / L)  ) )
    6. = WPI * (1 + (18.1 * (L/WPI) ) )
    7. = WPI + (18.1 * L)
  5. Conclusion
    1. If the injured workers’ individualized proportional earnings loss is outside all of the FEC ranks, you may calculate the Ogilvie adjustment by adding (18.1*Earnings Loss) to the WPI.

The only flaw with the proofs offered by William and myself is that they are too exact.  The WCAB in Ogilvie never sets forth the exact process for performing the Ogilvie adjustment calculation – so the only official method involves rounding to different significant figures at different places.  Thus, a calculation performed in strict accordance with the WCAB in Ogilvie and through one of these mathematical proofs would differ very slightly.

What do you think? Leave a comment or drop me a line.

  1. Photo courtesy of Dahveed76 []
  2. I’m paraphrasing here []
  3. PIESSE = Post Injury Earnings of Similarly Situated Employees []
  4. PIEA = Post Injury Earnings of Applicant []
Sep
16
2009
0

The Role of Rehab Experts after Ogilvie II

Oh, if only rehab was this easy...
Oh, if only rehab was this easy…

Vocational experts seem to have gotten pretty well trampled by the recent Ogilvie I and Almaraz/Guzman I en banc decisions.  The Ogilvie II and Almaraz/Guzman II en banc decisions didn’t do them any favors either.

As far as I can tell, the WCAB[1] in Ogilvie II basically flip flopped on the role of vocational experts.  Under Ogilvie I at least one very entrepreneurial vocational counselor was making money performing the Ogilvie I formula adjustments and offering to testify to support their findings.[2]

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in Ogilvie II has very explicitly stated that vocational experts are not necessary when it comes to performing the Ogilvie I formula adjustment – since it is an objective and retrospective calculation.

This leaves open the question of whether vocational expert testimony is only relevant when defending against an Ogilvie argument.

  1. Well, eight of the commissioners anyhow. []
  2. I received more than one letter demanding agreement to a vocational counselor under Ogilvie I. []
Sep
04
2009
1

Ogilvie II, Almaraz/Guzman II – Reader Digest Versions

Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman - lets cut to the chase

Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman - let's cut to the chase

First off, if you haven’t already downloaded Ogilvie II and Almaraz/Guzman II, do so now!

As I mentioned previously, each of these cases is about 50 pages long, so there is clearly no substitute for reading them for yourself.  However, here’s Ogilvie II and Almaraz/Guzman II in five sentences:[1]

  • Ogilvie v. WCAB II:
    • The WCAB ruled the original Ogilvie (I) formula is still valid.
    • The WCAB appears to have created a right to reopen a case for “individualized proportional earnings loss.”
    • Vocational testimony is not an appropriate way to dispute the DFEC portion of the 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule.
    • (Bonus Dissent Summary: The lone dissent by Caplane says that vocational testimony should be considered proper rebuttal to an entire permanent disability rating.)
  • Almaraz/Guzman II:
    • The WCAB ruled that a doctor must issue reports within the “four corners” of the AMA Guides 5th Edition to comply with Labor Code Section 4660(c). [2]
    • However, either party may obtain rebuttal evidence in the form of supplemental reports and depositions regarding the use of any other chapter, method, or table within the AMA Guides.
    • (Bonus Dissent Summary:  The dissenting opinion from Brass, Caplane, and Moresi says they would affirm their decision in Almaraz/Guzman I.)

What do these cases mean for the practitioner?

  • The WCAB has created a new right to reopen for a higher than expected “individualized proportional earnings loss.”
  • The Ogilvie Mathematical Proof of 18 Point Add-Ons still stands.
  • I see even more doctor depositions in my future.
  • My phone is going to be ringing off the hook tomorrow.
  1. Photo courtesy of Scallop Holden []
  2. Here, the phrase “four corners of the AMA Guides” just means the parties are restricted to the actual text of the AMA Guides and cannot use analogies and evidence from outside the AMA Guides. []

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