On September 1, 2021, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) announced that in-person hearings are scheduled to return in 30 days. As of October 1, 2021, in-person workers’ compensation hearings will return for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in California in March 2020. In this blog post, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyers discuss the press release from the state agency.
DWC Workers’ Compensation Hearings Were Virtual for Public Health Reasons
In March 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers put a number of different public health restrictions in place to help deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, DWC went fully virtual. On October 1, 2021, several types of hearings are set to resume in-person. Specifically, this includes:
- Workers’ compensation trials;
- Workers’ compensation lien trials;
- Expedited hearings; and
- Special adjudication proceedings.
If you have any upcoming workers’ compensation hearing in Central California, it is imperative that you clarify whether or not the matter will be heard in-person or remotely. The DWC warns that some notice may be inaccurate during the transition—meaning it is especially important to double check on your case during this time.
Note: In accordance with the recommendations from the California Department of Public Health, all parties attending an in-person hearing will be required to wear a facial covering. This is true regardless of vaccination status.
A Few Office Locations Will Remain Virtual
In its press release, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation notes that a small number of district/satellite officers will continue to operate virtually. The Eureka office is now a completely virtual office—meaning there will be no in-person hearings there. Further, virtual operations will continue at satellite offices, including Bishop, Marysville, Chico and Ukiah,
The DWC Will Continue to Operate Virtually for Certain Things (Conferences)
Despite the impending return of many in-person workers’ compensation hearings, several things will remain virtual for the time being. Conferences will generally still be remote throughout the State of California. More specifically, the California agency announced that the following types of proceedings will continue to occur virtually:
- Mandatory settlement conferences;
- Priority conferences;
- Status conferences;
- Special adjudication conferences; and
- Workers’ comp lien conferences.
In its official guidance, the DWC states that virtual conferences will continue until further notice. At the time, there is no scheduled date for a return to full in-person operations. If you have any questions about the transition back to in-person hearings, an experienced California workers’ compensation defense attorney can help.
Call Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Team for Immediate Help
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense lawyers work tirelessly to help clients resolve claims effectively and efficiently. If you have any questions about the scheduled return of in-person hearings, we are ready to help. Contact us today to arrange your completely confidential case review. From our legal offices in Fresno, Bakersfield, and Sacramento, we provide representation in DWC hearings throughout the whole region of Central California.