March 23, 2020
An Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) & Workers’ Compensation Claims
A. Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act, Office of Administrative Law Judges - As of March 19, 2020, all in-person hearings and telephone hearings are canceled through May 15, 2020 and all procedural deadlines are suspended until May 15, 2020.
B. California Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) - All trials and conferences through April 3, 2020 are continued to a future date unless the hearing room has the technology to do CourtCall (a service with allows the party or their attorney to appear by telephone.) If a party does not show up for a conference through CourtCall, the hearing will be automatically continued. All expedited hearings will go forward for now. (It is anticipated this order will be continued in some form during the week of 3/22/20.) Many procedural matters may be suspended based on the type of deadline or appeal needing to be filed.
As for medical treatment appointments, it is up to the individual physician and patient. However, the WCAB is strongly recommending the use of telemedicine/telehealth for the providing of medical treatment. (Telemedicine/telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.)
Our office is working with physicians, our client's and the insurance industry on ways to use telehealth/telemedicine to provide medical treatment to our clients as an option during these challenging times.
C. San Diego Superior Court
The Superior Court is closed for all court proceedings other than emergency matters through 4/3/20.
The Law Offices of Robert A. McLaughlin will keep our clients and the public updated on the status of the workers' compensation court systems when we learn of changes or more information. Come back often for updates.
March 13, 2020
Our response and how it impacts you
Recently, there’s been a global effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). At the Law Offices of Robert A. McLaughlin, we are also taking steps in response to this pandemic.
The employees at our law firm are protectors of workers’ right and advocates for you, our clients. They are also spouses to those with chronic illnesses, asthma sufferers, caregivers to elderly parents, mothers, and pregnant women. With that in mind, our response to the coronavirus must take all of that into consideration.
Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, everyone in our office will be limiting in-person interaction with clients and the rest of the general public until at least Friday, April 10, 2020. We will be available via phone, Apple FaceTime, Skype, and email. Please feel free to contact us by phone or email if you want to set up a FaceTime or Skype meeting so that we can schedule a time to talk with you.
While this may cause some minor delays in our communications with you, it will ensure we are doing our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It will also protect the health of our clients, families, friends and public while we continue to protect the rights of our clients.
Rest assured that unless courts officially close down, we will continue to attend all court hearings associated with your legal cases. Please note: At the time of this writing, our office has been unofficially informed that the San Diego Superior Court will begin limiting the start of trials through the end of March, and the federal Office of Administrative Law Judges is considering postponing all trials through April 11, 2020, before which time further action(s), if any, will be determined.
The California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board has yet to indicate what action, if any, they intend to take, but we anticipate at least a limitation on attendance by injured workers who have representatives to appear on their behalf.
For updates and information about the coronavirus, go to the California Department of Public Health website. #FlattenTheCurve