San Leandro, CA asked in Workers' Compensation for California

Q: Petition of Joinder

I have a culmative trauma workers comp case in California. The defendants lawyer filed a petition of Joinder to add another insurance co 4 yrs after the claim was filed. The judge granted the petition but the 2nd insurance co have denied the claim. When I first started my claim the 2nd insurance co was not the insurance co for my employer. I didn’t start having trouble until months after the 2nd insurance co was already gone. Can someone explain what will happen next? Will this start my case all over again or by them denying my claim will this finally end? I can’t find any real info on any website. It’s been years & I feel like I’ve been hung out to dry. My claim was accepted & I do have a QME report stating my injury is work related. I’ve been rated with a permanent disability & after over 3 years QME says I’m MMI. I am receiving perm. disability payments from the 1st insurance co. Still it goes on!

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3 Lawyer Answers
Nancy J. Wallace
Nancy J. Wallace
Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Grand Terrace, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If you really and truly 'just want it to be over' you could write to the judge and withdraw the claim form and application and pay the doctors who treated you, but I suspect that isn't the plan. What will happen next?? If it is a denied claim, you need to get your medical evidence together to prove the injury did occur on the job as you have claimed, and that typically requires a Qualified Medical Evaluation. Joining another employer does NOT start a claim 'over', nothing ever starts a claim'all over again." But the defense does get to ask your Qualified Medical Evaluator how much of what you claim is the result of activities on another job. Once you have a QME report explaining whether you were or were not hurt on the job and which job duties caused this injury -- if any -- the judge can hear the trial.

Ronald Mahurin
Ronald Mahurin
Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Point Arena, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The question cannot be answered because you don't provide enough information to ascertain which insurance company you are referring to. "They" is not informative.

If there was more than one insurance carrier during the last year of exposure, then your case will be apportioned between the two. However, it should not change the overall benefits in your case and most often contribution is only addressed after the case has settled. To me it seems odd that it has taken several years for the defendants to add another carrier. You can always elect to proceed against one carrier, but if you make a mistake and pick the wrong one it will cost you.

Review your medical file. If you have documentation showing that you have a work injury, then file for a hearing and get finality by forcing one of the carriers to pay benefits. The new carrier is going to complain that further discovery needs to be done. If you are forced to wait, it could add another year to the litigation

Mr. David H. Parker Esq.
Mr. David H. Parker Esq.
Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Fresno, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Typically the insurance companies will "conduct discovery," meaning delays while each attempts to limit if not eliminate its own liabilities by both "defending" against you and the other insurance companies claiming it owes any benefit or contribution to the case. It usually results in delays, though not necessarily starting over. It "continues," but many of the "same issues" will be covered again. You can consider "electing" against one of the insurers in the cumulative trauma period. Read Labor Code section 5500.5 here:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=LAB&sectionNum=5500.5

You may wish to consider to "elect" against a single insurance company, then request a hearing by filing a "Declaration of Readiness to Proceed" found here:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/FORMS/EAMS%20Forms/ADJ/DWCCAForm10250_1.pdf

The above is not legal advice, just information. You should consult an qualified attorney if not already to determine how to proceed and if the above are good options. You should also contact a/the information and assistance officer in your area, information found here:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/ianda.html

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