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Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB)

Organization and Functions

Organization| Members | Function | Procedure | Caseload

Although the appeals board has power to hear cases in the first instance and to remove cases from a workers' compensation judge to itself, it normally acts only after a final decision of a workers' compensation judge. The latter procedure is called reconsideration.

Reconsideration may be had only of a final order. The appeals board has power to grant reconsideration on its own motion at any time within 60 days after filing of a final decision, but it most frequently acts upon the petition of a party.

Any party aggrieved by a final decision of the appeals board or a workers' compensation judge may petition for reconsideration within 20 days after service of the decision by which the party is aggrieved. The grounds for reconsideration are:

  1. That the appeals board or workers' compensation judge acted in excess of its power
  2. That the decision was procured by fraud
  3. That the decision is not justified by the evidence
  4. That there is newly discovered evidence which could not have been produced at the hearing; and
  5. That the findings of fact do not support the decision
    An adverse party may file an answer within 10 days.

By rule, the workers' compensation judge is allowed 15 days from the date the petition is filed to prepare a report and recommendation to the appeals board explaining the workers' compensation judge's decision in light of the points raised by the petition for reconsideration. Also, by rule and during the same 15-day period, the workers' compensation judge may amend or modify the decision, or rescind the decision and conduct further proceedings.

The Appeals Board must act on the petition within 60 days from its filing. If the appeals board does not act within the time allowed, the petition is denied by operation of law.