June 01, 2012
We all know that Yogi Berra was right when he said "It ain't over until it's over." That could not be truer than with workers' compensation claims.
Just when you thought the claim by your injured employee was finally over and closed with a voluntary resignation, you still might have to meet with him/her to discuss possible return to work. This is due to the Interactive Process (I/P) rules imposed on you by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). You will all remember that failure to enter into an Interactive Process, where there are work restrictions, is a violation of the law itself.
All the plaintiff needs to do is show that you did not meet with him/her in good faith to discuss how you might accommodate the return to their usual and customary job. If you did not do an Interactive Process, then it becomes just a matter of how many zeros go on the check you will ultimately write. I need only point to the over $2.2 million dollar jury verdict against the Auto Club for failure to do an Interactive Process with Mr. Weisinger when his doctor recommended an accommodation and they ignored him.
Well, Yogi's saying is also true when it comes to liens. They are filed for everything you can imagine including medical costs, translators, investigators and even pharmacies. The problem has been that they take on a life of their own and have clogged the system to such a degree that other more important matters such as hearings and trials for claims are being needlessly delayed.