SELECTED INDICATORS IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: A REPORT CARD FOR CALIFORNIANS
DWC Expedited Hearings
The chart below compares the number of expedited hearings from January through July of 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Except for July and March, the number of hearings during each month increased between 2002 and 2004. However between 2004 and 2005, the number of expedited hearings decreased all the months with the exception of January.
Timeliness of Hearings
California Labor Code Section 5502 specifies the time limits for various types of hearings conducted by the DWC on WCAB cases. In general:
A conference is required to be held within 30 days of the receipt of a request in the form of a DR.
A trial must be held either within 60 days of the request or within 75 days if a settlement conference has not resolved the dispute.
An expedited hearing must be held within 30 days of the receipt of the DR.
As the following chart shows, the average elapsed time from a request to a DWC hearing decreased in the mid- to late-1990s and then remained fairly constant. From 2000 to 2004, all of the average elapsed times have increased from the previous year’s quarter, and none were within the statutory requirements. However, between 2004 and 2005, the average elapsed times for expedited hearings and conferences decreased while the average time from the request to a trial increased slightly.