Workers’ Compensation Lawyer San Diego, CA

2023 New Year's Resolutions...Part 4

A judge's gavel with the American flag in the background.

By Attorney Robert A. McLaughlin

People frequently reflect on the previous year and make resolutions for the one to come as part of a long-standing custom known as New Year's resolutions. Here's what I think the California Workers' Compensation system should implement in 2023.

California’s workers’ compensation law being accessible to all—for Free.

This one really chafes my b-tt. The law is supposed to be free and accessible to everyone as “no one can own the law.”

Even a recent SCOTUS decision reconfirmed this animating principle in the case of Georgia v. Public Resource Org, Inc., 140 S. Ct. 1498, 1502 (2020).

Yet, in California's workers' compensation, the State of California (and the AD) can deny you treatment based on legal guidelines they cite to you.

Still, you cannot access them to confirm if what you have been cited is accurate or if there are exceptions that apply to your situation. Often the AD will cite Official Disability Guidelines (ODG) or other guidelines which cost substantial money to access.

But the State of California made these guidelines law when they incorporated them into regulations for determining what is appropriate medical care for Injured Workers. Thus, it must be provided for free as “no one can own the law.”

Plus, by the terms of the California Constitution, workers' compensation in California is to be a free process for the Injured Worker. But it is not when it comes to accessing these medical treatment guidelines used by the AD to accept or deny the Injured Workers their requested medical care.

Let us review this process:

1. The AD uses an anonymous physician.

2. The anonymous physician relies on law you cannot research or confirm independently.

3. The anonymous physician’s decision is considered an Order of the AD and hence the State of California and is binding on all parties.

4. There are only 5 limited grounds for the Injured Worker to appeal the State’s Order and two are bias and conflict of interests of the anonymous physician!

If the anonymous physician rules against you based on these laws you cannot access or verify, California law even prevents you from being allowed to find out the name of the anonymous physician so you can ask them questions about how they arrived at their decision.


I wonder if the legislators who passed this law would allow this process to determine medical care for them or their family members.

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