According to a report from Human Resources Director (HRD), a California carpet installer has been granted reconsideration by the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). In Ruiz vs. SK Floor Covering and State Compensation Insurance Fund, a court had initially dismissed the attempt by the injured worker (Mr. Ruiz) to reopen the workers’ comp claim. However, on appeal, the WCAB panel found that there were still material questions that needed to be addressed. Here, our Fresno workers’ comp lawyer for employees provides an overview of the court’s decision.
Background and Facts
Juan Ruiz was employed as a carpet installer for SK Floor Covering from July 2016 to July 2017. He filed a workers’ compensation claim alleging a number of different job-related injuries, including shoulder problems, back problems, and knee injuries. In 2021, Mr. Ruiz was granted workers’ compensation benefits. It was determined that he had a 23 percent permanent disability.
Disability rating matters. A disability rating in workers’ compensation refers to an assessment of the severity of a worker’s injury or illness and its impact on their ability to perform their job duties. The rating is typically determined by a medical professional and is used to calculate the amount of compensation the worker is entitled to receive.
Worker Seeks to Reopen Claim
In December 2021, Mr. Ruiz moved to reopen the workers’ compensation claim. In certain circumstances, injured workers in California have a right to reopen their claim and seek additional workers’ comp benefits. Though, doing so can be challenging. Workers must prove that there was a significant change in their medical condition that justifies additional treatment/benefits.
In this case, Mr. Ruiz alleged that he had additional injuries to his throat, chest, liver, hips, and other bodily parts that required additional medical treatment. The employer (SK Floor Covering) objected to his attempt to reopen the claim. They filed a petition that they were ready to proceed with the matter. Eventually, the case was dismissed by an administrative law judge.
Upon review, a California WCAB panel has granted reconsideration to Mr. Ruiz. In doing so, they returned that matter to the administrative law judge and instructed the court to conduct additional proceedings. Notably, the WCAB panel determined that there was an improper delay in the case, which was not the fault of the applicant (injured worker). The claims administrator in the case failed to conduct a reasonably timely investigation of Mr. Ruiz’s petition to reopen his workers’ comp claim. There are genuine issues of fact that still need to be resolved regarding his permanent impairments.
Speak to Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Attorney TodayJoseph C. Yrulegui is an experienced, highly respected workers’ compensation attorney. If your workers’ comp claim was denied, we are more than ready to help you navigate the appeals process. Be proactive. Contact us now to schedule your no-obligation, strictly private case review. We fight for the rights of injured workers in Fresno, Fresno County, and throughout North Central California.