There are many complex statutes and regulations that determine workers compensation benefits. Whenever a case is lost the aggrieved party can initially appeal to Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board Commissioners by filing a Request for Reconsideration within 20 days of the date of the Findings and Award, add 5 more days if it is mailed. If reconsideration is not acted on within 60 days it is deemed denied. Then if you want to appeal further you must file a Petition for Writ of Review in the appropriate Court of Appeal within 45 days of the denial of reconsideration.
The court will review the decision applying the appropriate standard of reivew and either deny the Petition or grant review. It may reverse conclusions made by the WCAB if those conclusions are illogical or unsupported by the record as a whole. Review is governed by Labor Code section 5950 and Western Growers Ins. Co. V. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 227. The reviewing Court must determine whether, under applicable principles of law, the decision is supported by substantial evidence in light of the entire record. Id . Labor Code section 5908.5 requires that the Order Denying Reconsideration (or the underlying decision it adopts and incorporates) state the evidence relied upon and specify in detail the reasons for the decision.
Although the reviewing Court may not weigh the evidence or decide disputed questions of fact, it is not bound to accept the WCAB’s factual findings if they are unreasonable, illogical, improbable, or inequitable and do not withstand scrutiny when viewed in light of the entire record and the overall statutory scheme. County of San Luis Obispo v. Workers’ Comp Appeals Bd (Barnes) (2001) 92 Cal. App. 4th 869, 874.
Questions of law and it’s interpretation by a WCJ are ultimately resolved by the appellate court. Save Mart Stores v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd (1992) 3 Cal.App. 4th 720, 723; Dimmig v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd., (1972) 6 Cal. 3d 860, 864-5.
If you lose in the Court of Appeals then you have just 10 days to Petition for Review in the Supreme Court. If the last day lands on a week-end or holiday it does not extend tothe next day. Costs of the appeal are waived by the court on worker compensation cases. However if the Ocurt of Appeals determines there was no reasonable basis for the appeal it can remand the matter for an award of attorneys fees to the successful party defending the appeal pursualt to Labor Code section 5801.
If you or a loved one has been injured at work it is important to protect your legal rights. Call (916) 922-9902 to speak with a Sacramento work injury attorney, Tom Johnson.