Maybe not THAT way

I had been looking forward to the DWC public hearing on the proposed regulations for weeks. While I didn’t get a chance to tune into the Zoom video meeting, I was able to listen to all of the public comments.

If you’ve watched the news, late night television, or tuned into any local government meetings over the last 18 months, you’re already aware there are a lot of opinions about the pandemic, the government, and the government’s response to the pandemic. Perhaps this was why I was not prepared to hear glowing unanimous support for these regulations. Every public commenter was incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about the proposed regulations relating to remote hearings.

With in-person hearings set to be implemented as soon as October 1, 2021 these changes can’t be made fast enough.

Photo courtesy of ADT

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. 12 I’m not going to hold you in suspense – here’s the download link:

[Download not found]

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. []

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 following2 :

  1. Earnings Loss34
    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 []

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 WCAB1 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. []