NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
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Those of us who attend hearings are often surprised by new procedures that are being implemented across the field offices, or old procedures that have been abandoned. One new procedure we learned of is that the hearing officers are requiring in every hearing a stipulation as to the date of STAT MMI. But, the Division of Hearings seems to have dropped the requirement that the parties put into evidence DWC Orders for DD and RME exams, or a print out of the certifying doctors’ credentials for performing MMI/IR examinations and certifying an IR.
It could be that the opening of the new legislative session has our friends at the Division of Hearings all aflutter. This is the time where DWC wants to present favorable statistics to the legislature, such as the length of time between the inception of a dispute and its resolution – short time good, long time bad. From a practitioner’s standpoint, it is frustrating when there is no consistent application of a policy on continuances in contested case proceedings, and little consideration given to the time it takes to prepare for what can be complex proceedings with multiple parties. And we expect that the hearing officers might appreciate the DWC allowing them to be the judge of when a continuance will be in the interests of a fair hearing for both parties, and when it will not.