The California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board enacted new rules that went into effect on January 1, 2022.
The new rules were enacted to shed light on how the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board will continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, new rules were put into place to allow for the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to operate remotely.
On January 1, 2022, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board final rules went into effect in California. These rules were filed with the California Secretary of State on December 15, 2021. These rules were enacted due to the longevity and ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The new rules were enacted to clarify the process for remote hearings and electronic processes.
The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board published 30 pages of rules. Of note, are several newly enacted rules for handling the case process remotely:
- Section 10625. Service by Parties.
- This section contains a new subsection that allows a document to be served by electronic service. “Electronic” means by any available technological means.
- Section 10815. Electronic Hearings Before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
- The newly-enacted section states that any matter may be set for an electronic hearing. However, any party can object to the hearing being electronic. In order to do so, the objecting party must file a written objection showing good cause.
- Section 10816. Electronic Appearances Before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
- This section states that if any party wants a remote hearing, they must file a petition showing good cause to do so. However, if a hearing is conducted electronically pursuant to Section 10815, all appearances will be presumed electronic. Thus, no petition would be required.
- Section 10817. Electronic Testimony Before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
- Under this section, if a witness is going to testify electronically, the witness or the party offering the witness must file a petition before the hearing in which the witness is going to testify. However, any hearing that is conducted pursuant to Section 10815 does not require a petition before the witness testifies electronically.
These newly enacted rules will help keep the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board operational during the pandemic. These rules were enacted at the perfect time because as of January 12, 2022, all hearings at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board became virtual. Although this is only in effect until the end of January, with the recent surge in cases it can be expected that all hearings will remain virtual.
If you have any questions about the newly-enacted rules of the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, please contact: