California Labor Codes 5502 667

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§ Time limits for hearing



(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (d), the hearing shall be held not less than 10 days, and not more than 60 days, after the date a declaration of readiness to proceed, on a form prescribed by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, is filed. Where a claim form has been filed for an injury occurring on or after January 1, 1990, and before January 1, 1994, an application for adjudication shall accompany the declaration of readiness to proceed.

(b) The administrative director shall establish a priority calendar for issues requiring an expedited hearing and decision. A hearing shall be held and a determination as to the rights of the parties shall be made and filed within 30 days after the declaration of readiness to proceed is filed if the issues in dispute are any of the following: (1) The employee's entitlement to medical treatment pursuant to Section 4600. (2) The employee's entitlement to, or the amount of, temporary disability indemnity payments. (3) The employee's entitlement to vocational rehabilitation services, or the termination of an employer's liability to provide these services to an employee. (4) The employee's entitlement to compensation from one or more responsible employers when two or more employers dispute liability as among themselves. (5) Any other issues requiring an expedited hearing and determination as prescribed in rules and regulations of the administrative director.

(c) The administrative director shall report quarterly to the Governor and to the Legislature concerning the frequency and types of issues which are not heard and decided within the period prescribed in this section and the reasons therefor.

(d) (1) In all cases, a mandatory settlement conference shall be conducted not less than 10 days, and not more than 30 days, after the filing of a declaration of readiness to proceed. If the dispute is not resolved, the regular hearing shall be held within 75 days after the declaration of readiness to proceed is filed. (2) The settlement conference shall be conducted by a workers' compensation judge or by a referee who is eligible to be a workers' compensation judge or eligible to be an arbitrator under Section 5270.5. At the mandatory settlement conference, the referee or workers' compensation judge shall have the authority to resolve the dispute, including the authority to approve a compromise and release or issue a stipulated finding and award, and if the dispute cannot be resolved, to frame the issues and stipulations for trial. The appeals board shall adopt any regulations needed to implement this subdivision. The presiding workers' compensation judge shall supervise settlement conference referees in the performance of their judicial functions under this subdivision. (3) If the claim is not resolved at the mandatory settlement conference, the parties shall file a pretrial conference statement noting the specific issues in dispute, each party's proposed permanent disability rating, and listing the exhibits, and disclosing witnesses. Discovery shall close on the date of the mandatory settlement conference. Evidence not disclosed or obtained thereafter shall not be admissible unless the proponent of the evidence can demonstrate that it was not available or could not have been discovered by the exercise of due diligence prior to the settlement conference.

(e) In cases involving the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations in his or her capacity as administrator of the Uninsured Employers Fund, this section shall not apply unless proof of service, as specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) of Section 3716 has been filed with the appeals board and provided to the Director of Industrial Relations, valid jurisdiction has been established over the employer, and the fund has been joined.

(f) Except as provided in subdivision (a) and in Section 4065, the provisions of this section shall apply irrespective of the date of injury.