As the July 1 deadline to file a retroactive lien declaration under Labor Code 4903.05 approaches, our Support Team is fielding questions left and right. Among the biggest causes for confusion: Whether lien claimants are required to “serve” other parties to a lien case when they submit their Supplemental Lien Form and declaration to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. An eleventh-hour DIR Newsline released on Monday offers some clarity: Yes, lien claimants must serve all parties on the case.
In and of itself, this news is not surprising. After all, California Code of Regulations § 10324 is pretty explicit:
“(a) No document, including letters or other writings, shall be filed by a party or lien claimant with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board unless service of a copy thereof is made on all parties together with the filing of a proof of service as provided for in Rule 10505.”
Still, we know that some lien claimants were hopeful that this strict rule would not apply to the retroactive lien declaration. Service can become a huge expense in workers’ comp cases, due to the large number of parties who must be served. In any given case, service could be made to the injured worker or workers, their attorneys, the insurance company, the employer, the employer’s attorneys, and on and on.
For companies with many liens, such as copy services or occupational med practices, the cost of service quickly veers into astronomical territory. But from the point of view of the state, this approach simply offers one more level of assurance that the lien in question is valid. Remember, SB 1160 was introduced largely as an anti-fraud bill last year.
As a reminder, existing lien claimants who filed a lien between January 1, 2013, and January 1, 2017 – that is to say, liens subject to the filing fee under Labor Code § 4903.05 – must file a retroactive lien declaration prior to July 1, 2017. Per Monday’s DIR Newsline, claimants are encouraged to complete their submission by the end of the business day on Friday, June 30th, “to ensure a timely filing.”
To learn more about the new lien declaration rules, consult our comprehensive online guide or watch the webinar below.