Generally, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's jurisdiction to award new and further disability is limited to five years from the date of injury. Labor Code 5410 states, "Nothing in this chapter shall bar the right of any injured worker to institute proceedings for the collection of compensation within five years after the date of the injury upon the ground that the original injury has caused new and further disability." LC 5804 states, "No award of compensation shall be rescinded, altered, or amended after five years from the date of injury ..." unless there is a timely filed petition. The appeals board generally may not reserve jurisdiction to award additional disability more than five years from the date of injury. (Hartsuiker v. WCAB (1993) 12 Cal. App. 4th 209.)
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Generally, workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy for injuries occurring at the workplace. A worker normally must pursue claims for work-related injuries before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) rather than sue the employer in civil court.
Nevertheless, certain types of intentional conduct take the employer beyond the boundaries of the compensation bargain. In City of Moorpark v. Superior Court of Ventura County (Dillon) (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1143, the California Supreme Court held that discrimination falls outside of the compensation bargain. It concluded that Labor Code 132a does not provide the exclusive remedy for discrimination based on a work-related injury.
Labor Code § 4600(g)(2)(A) states, "Unless otherwise indicated in this section, a physician providing treatment under Section 4600 shall send any request for authorization for medical treatment, with supporting documentation, to the claims administrator for the employer, insurer, or other entity according to rules adopted by the administrative director." The statute directs that a request for authorization for medical treatment (RFA) must be sent to a claims administrator, rather than somewhere else, although the claims administrator may designate where the RFA is sent (CCR 9792.6.1(t)(3)).
Multiple employers or insurers can be liable for a cumulative trauma (CT) injury, and it's common for employers or insurers to dispute whether and how much liability they have for such an injury. Pursuant to Labor Code 5500.5(a), liability for a CT injury is limited to employers who employed the worker during the one-year period immediately preceding the date of injury (LC 5412), or the last date of injurious exposure, whichever occurs first.
Per Labor Code § 5903, a petition for reconsideration may be filed "[a]t any time within 20 days after the service of any final order, decision, or award made and filed by the appeals board or a workers' compensation judge." Although LC 5903 establishes a basic 20-day time period for filing a petition for reconsideration, most parties are given longer.
When an employer lends an employee to another employer and both have the right to exercise certain powers of control over the worker, a "special employment" relationship arises. The employee can be held to have two employers — the original "general employer" and the second "special employer." If a special employment relationship is found to exist, both employers are jointly and severally liable for any injuries to the employee.
Pursuant to Labor Code 5500.5(a) , liability for a cumulative trauma injury is limited to employers who employed the worker during the one-year period immediately preceding the date of injury (LC 5412), or the last exposure to the occupational hazard, whichever occurs first. Multiple employers or insurers can be liable for a cumulative trauma (CT) injury. An employee can choose to obtain an award for her or his entire CT injury from one or more employers for whom they have worked within the preceding year (LC 5500.5(c)).
The statute of limitations for pursuing death benefits is established in LC 5406. Except for LC 5406.5 and LC 5406.6 (which cover deaths from asbestos and HIV-related disease), proceedings for the collection of death benefits, per LC 5406(a), may be commenced one year from:
- the date of death when it occurs within one year from date of injury;
- the date of last furnishing of any compensation benefits, when death occurs more than one year from the date of injury; or
- the date of death, when death occurs more than one year after the date of injury and compensation benefits have been furnished.