Thursday, January 25, 2007, 08:59 AM - Terms and conceptsIn California workers' comp law, what is a "declaration of readiness"?
This is a state form used by the worker, employer or insurer (or their attorney) to request a court date. The party requesting the court date needs to file this form (known as a DWC 9) at the district office of the Workers' Comp Appeals Board in order to have the California WCAB assign a court date.
The party filing the form must indicate on the form the issues that are to be raised in court. Typically, the form is filed where there is a dispute over temporary disability status, medical treatment, permanent disability and apportionment issues (i.e. causation of disability), and so forth. The "declaration of readiness" may also be filed where there is a dispute over whether an injury or occupational illness is work-related. Some (but not all) of these issues may be handled by filing an alternative form known as a "request for expedited hearing."
The party filing the "Declaration of Readiness" must be ready to proceed to a settlement conference and trial. At the requested court date (which is usually called a "mandatory settlement conference"), the workers' comp judge may "close discovery". The workers' comp judge may or may not exclude evidence that was obtained after the "declaration of readiness" was filed. In short, a "declaration of readiness" is not to be taken lightly. The party filing it is certifying that they are ready to proceed. This means that the party filing the form needs to have all medical reports ready. You cannot assume that you will have time to or be allowed to gather additional evidence or supplemental medical reports later on.
To see the form, you can click here:
If you are an unrepresented worker, you should consider talking to an attorney immediately if the insurer files a declaration of readiness. You may be a critical juncture in your case. If you delay, you may lose the right to develop your case properly.
In the past, some district WCAB offices would assign a judge to pre-screen declarations of readiness that were filed. Sometimes declarations of readiness were rejected and "kicked back" to the party who filed. Currently it does not appear that the WCAB is pre-screening these forms. The form will be sent to the local WCAB calendar clerk, who will send out a computerized notice of a court date.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 04:49 PM - Terms and conceptsConfused by workers' comp terminology? Wish you had a California workers' comp dictionary? A glossary of California workers' comp law terms?
The California Division of Workers' Compensation has put together a glossary of workers' comp terms. You can find it by clicking here:
You can also click on the articles section on the upper right hand side of this blog (between "Podcasts" and FAQs), which will take you to some detailed articles on California workers' comp terms and concepts.