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Thread Title: Northern California Claims vs Southern California Claims
Created On Sunday September 28, 2008 7:16 PM


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Sunday September 28, 2008 7:16 PM

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Why is it that workers' compensation claims from Northern California and Southern California are such a different animal.

It's as if the parties involved have a different mentality as to entitlement to benefits, and the applicable laws. In Northern California, it is common practice for claim adjusters and applicant attorneys to actually have discusssions and resolve cases without the need for defense counsel. For the MOST part the attorney's abide with the fact that the employers have MPN's, and will make every effort to get the injured worker into the MPN to get the due benefits to their client's, and most importantly there are very limited liens.

Southern California however, it's as if you have to fight tooth and nail to get the represented injured workers into an MPN physicians after they have been properly notified of the fact that an MPN is in place, the injured workers' do not get any benefits from the insurance company as they are treating with a non-mpn doctor, it's common to have at least 5 lien claimants, and god forbid that an adjuster try and speak with applicants counsel or have them respond to any correspondence. The injured workers' also have this mentality that they are entitled to everything served on a silver platter. I'm not saying that every cases are like this but it appears to be the norm, at least in the Los Angeles area. Did I forget to mention lien claimants?

Well enough ranting for today. Anyone come across this on their desk?


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Wednesday October 01, 2008 6:08 PM

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I have thought about this for years. I think the main reason relates to population density. I know it sounds weird and unrelated but how else do you explain the "no shame" factor that occurs in SoCal with litigation? I think it boils down to the fact SoCal really is one large city despite the fact it is actually made up of many cities. The difference is in North Cal the cities are actual cities, with functioning governments, their own police forces, fire department etc. City demarcations actually mean something in NorCal. But LA county is one government and with the exception of Santa Monica (there are others I know, west hollywood comes to mind) most cities in LA county do not have full functioning governments. Expanding further Anahiem is considered LA even by people who live in LA. I don't know how many times I heard people in LA refer to Disneyland as being in LA. You've got the The Angels, Angels of Anahiem (Los Angeles Angels means: The Angels, Angels) which must be confusing a generation of school kids. This last comment is meant as levity more than opinion.

This leads to a psychology that I can only refer to as the big city verses little city. In big cities people are mostly anonymous whereas in little cities it is harder to be anonymous. Taken to the extreme in small towns everyone knows everyone and that impacts how people act in general b/c it is known that whatever they do everyone will be aware of what it is they are doing. This is simply not possible in big cities. You see the same phenon in NorCal at the bigger boards. The Oakland board is much more like a SoCal board than San Francisco, San Jose or Sacramento.

It also seems that applicant attorneys in SoCal use the board as their office and diary system. Rarely will they be at their office and available by phone to resolve issues. Instead business is conducted at the board. Applicant attorneys are generally less prepared in SoCal at hearings, fumbling through the file as if it is the first time they have looked at the file.

I think b/c the boards in NorCal are smaller and more provincial the small city dynamic I referred to above has an impact and litigation in general is more civil and less contentious.

In my prior job NorCal workers were paid almost $10 dollars more an hour (on average) than the workers in Los Angeles. These were workers for the same company. Most of the workers in NorCal at my previous job (an international garbage company) made close to 10 dollars an hour more than their LA counterparts. The workers in San Mateo County (who were non-union) made a lot more per hour than the unionized teamsters in LA ($25 dollars per hour compared to $12.00) Even the teamsters locals in the north bay made more than their southern cal colleagues, again I am comparing employees who all worked fro the same company.

I also think (and this applies to attorneys too) b/c of the higher population density there is more competition for jobs. More competition for a finite number of jobs puts downward pressure on wages.

The difference in litigation is real. Even though the demographics of employees north and south were the pretty much the same (at my prior employer) the litigation in LA was 12 times greater than NorCal. We would have about 6 files we assigned to outside council in NorCal compared to more than 60 in SoCal.



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