Don’t Believe The Hype: Almaraz/Guzman is the law!

Get your head out of the sand!

Get your head out of the sand!

UPDATE 9/3/2009:  Download the new en banc Ogilvie II and Almaraz/Guzman II decisions here!

There are numerous workers’ compensation professionals who are incredibly unhappy with Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman.  Vocational experts are unhappy with Ogilvie, and somewhat hopeful with Almaraz/Guzman.  Impairment rating specialists are not happy with Ogilvie or Almaraz/Guzman.  These people may be unhappy with these new cases, but at least they’re starting to adapt.

As Julius Young of just reported, some people are dealing with Almaraz/Guzman by putting on “webinars.”  Phil Walker and Christopher Brigham have each announced “webinars.”  According to Walker’s promotional e-mail, he charges $2,000.00 to appear for a one day seminar – and now he’s giving it away for free.

People will try to convince you that Almaraz/Guzman is not the law or “just” a WCAB decision.  Do not believe these people.  Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman are both en banc cases.

En banc decisions of the Appeals Board are binding precedent on all Appeals Board panels and workers’ compensation judges. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 10341; City of Long Beach v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (Garcia) (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 298, 313, fn. 5 [70 Cal.Comp.Cases 109, 120, fn. 5]; Gee v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 1418, 1425, fn. 6 [67 Cal.Comp.Cases 236, 239, fn. 6]; see also Gov. Code, § 11425.60(b).)

Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman are binding precedent on judges and the WCAB itself.  Don’t believe the hype and don’t stick your head in the sand. 1 If you argue it is not the law or not binding precedent, you will lose.  Yes, these cases may be appealed and may even be overturned.

I think it likely they will be appealled and highly unlikely they will be overturned.

  1. Photo courtesy of blakeimeson []

PDRater – a retrospective

Today is one year old! You can click on the images below to see what this site used to look like. circa July 23, 2007

Circa July 23, 2007

The very first version of this website was launched on July 23, 2007.

On a whim I looked up what else has happened on July 23. Birthdays: Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, Raymond Chandler mystery writer, Woody Harrelson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Slash of Guns N’ Roses.

Thank you wikipedia!

This first version of only calculated old and new schedule ratings and generated reports. Pretty ugly, I know. At this point I was just trying to put together something that would work. circa September 17, 2007

Circa September 17, 2007

I updated the entire website on September 17, 2007. I’m sure other important things happened on this date too.

This version of the website offered MDT (multiple disabilities table) calculators, CVC (combined value chart) calculators, lists of work restrictions, and a life expectancy calculator.

This was the first time that I offered a subscription version with additional features.

This is also the first version that had any kind of advertising. I started off with the ubiquitious Google Adsense you see everywhere. Then I put up ads from an independent certified impairment rating specialist and a court reporter Janet Lombardi & Associates. circa January 1, 2008 circa January 1, 2008

I spent WAY too much time developing the version of this site launched on January 1, 2008.

This version included a date calculator, temporary disability rate calculator, wage loss / total partial disability calculator, life expectancy calculator, life pension calculator, average weekly wage calculator, simple interest calculator, and permanent total disability calculator.

My goal was to offer more California workers’ compensation calculators than anyone else anywhere on the internet – and do it for free. I’m fairly certain that there is no other single source that has more calculators than you’ll find here. circa July 6, 2008 circa July 6, 2008

The version of the website you’re now viewing was launched on July 6, 2008. I had been fiddling with WordPress as a website/blog platform for several months before this but didn’t switch over the main site until July 6.

Using WordPress as a website platform for these calculators has allowed me to focus on providing better content (links, downloads, self-indulgent blog posts) and on the calculators themselves.

When I launched this latest version, I took out all of the advertising so that I could focus on making the website look better.

That said, July 23, 2008 was a totally unrealistic and overly optimistic target date for totally revamped calculators. I really don’t know what I was thinking.

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