Court of Appeal rules on statute of limitations and labor code section 5500.5 against defendant

This is a published decision of the court of appeal

This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.

The applicant was a deputy county sheriff from 1998 to 2010. He took a service retirement. He thereafter worked for a federally recognized Indian tribe from 2010 to 2014.

He filed an application for a continuous trauma in 2014 for his employment which included that from 1998 to 2010. He first learned that his cumulative trauma was industrially related in 2013. The matter went to trial.

The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) ruled that 2014 was the last year of employment even if it was with a federally recognized Indian tribe under L.C. 5500.5. A petition for reconsideration was filed.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) found that the statute of limitations did not apply since the applicant did not confirm his medical condition was industrially related until 2013. In addition, they found 5500.5 did not apply to the federally recognized tribe, so the prior employment was responsible.

On appeal, the appeals court looked at Labor code sections 5405 and 5412. The date of injury is when the applicant suffered disability and either knew or should have known that his disability was industrially related. In this case, he filed timely.

The appeals court ruled that 5500.5 only applies to the last year of coverage. Since the federal employment was not covered, the 1998 to 2010 employment was liable.

Case: County of Riverside v. WCAB (Sylves)

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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