(California)

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(California)

Postby 50Cal20 on Sat Dec 20, 2014 4:36 pm

The other day during a lull between cases at the Board I had the opportunity to chat with the judge about a war story. The judge told me how he had a case where two teenagers where working in a back alley, loading dock area of a store at night. One employee tried to scare and surprise his co-worker by lying down on the asphalt as the co-worker drove up in the company truck. Of course he was run over and seriously injured when the co-worker failed to notice him lying on the asphalt. The judge went on to say that at trial he had no choice but to rule against the applicant when the insurance company produced a police officer as a witness. The officer spoke to the injured teenager while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, wherein the employee admitted what happened as confessed that he was trying to play a joke on his co-worker. Since the date of accident the police officer had retired and moved out of state, but the judge was miffed that the insurance company somehow tracked him down and brought him to the Board to testify. The judge was actually blaming the insurance company for forcing him to rule against the employee. Amazing!

This is where the judge and I have a significant difference of opinion. Had I been the judge I would have been furious at the employee for trying to pull a fast one and wasting everyone's time. I would have encouraged the defendant to report the matter to the Dept of Insurance Fraud Unit if they had not already done so. I was sorry to hear that the applicant was badly injured but the extent and seriousness of injuries sustained are not the determining factors for compensability. Whatever happened to our state's zero tolerance for workers' compensation fraud when a judge blames the insurance company for doing its job?
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Re: (California)

Postby vampireinthenight on Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:42 am

There's one thing to remember about WC, particularly the WCJs. They do not view WC as if it were a regular court of law. It is viewed more as a social welfare type of program. If a person needs help the WCJs try to give it to them.
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