4850 Benefits Are Included in the 104-week TD Cap

UPDATE: As of May 1, 2013, the State Supreme Court  denied applicant’s Petition for Review.  The 1st District Court of Appeal’s decision is therefore a final, published case.

Labor Code Section 4850 salary continuation benefits ARE INCLUDED in the 104-week cap for Temporary Disability (TD)  benefits according to California’s 1st District Court of Appeal in County of Alameda v. WCAB (Knittel). That means 4850 recipients, like most everyone else, are limited to a maximum of 104-weeks of aggregate disability benefits per injury: 52-weeks of 4850 benefits followed by 52-weeks of TD benefits.
The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the workers’ compensation judge finding that an injured deputy sheriff was entitled to 52-weeks of 4850 salary continuation benefits followed by 104-weeks of TD, for a total of 156-weeks (3 years) of paid leave per injury.
This is a published decision and is therefore binding legal authority in the counties that are within the jurisdiction of the 1st District Court of Appeal, which are as follows: Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma.  This includes the WCAB District offices in Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Rosa.
Therefore, it is safe, in our opinion, to rely on this case for claims administration within those counties. The holding of the Court is likely limited to dates of injury on or after January 1, 2008.  The decision may be cited as persuasive legal authority in the rest of California, but is not binding there.
The state Supreme Court may take up the case, and the decision could be de-published by the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, which would effectively eliminate the decision as citable legal authority. Therefore, we should all watch carefully for such an outcome.

Knittel Court of Appeal Decision

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