There is a great deal of information (and misinformation) about when the AMA Guides and new PDRS are to be applied. Given that the application of the “new” rating system can easily result in a rating that will save the defense thousands, and even tens of thousands, of dollars, knowing when to apply the AMA Guides and new PDRS is essential.
Some preliminary information: First, the AMA Guides and new PDRS go hand-in-hand. Thus, if you are using one, you will be using the other. If your case is under the old system, neither the new PDRS nor the AMA Guides will apply.
Second, the AMA Guides and new PDRS became effective in California on January 1, 2005 (Labor Code §4660).
So exactly which cases will be rated via the AMA Guides and new PDRS?
This new system applies to all dates of injury (DOI). And, if the DOI is on or after (o/a) 1/1/05, the AMA Guides and new PDRS apply without exception!
What about the DOIs that pre-date 1/1/05? Again, the general rule is that the AMA Guides and new PDRS apply to all DOIs. However, there are two exceptions for pre-1/1/05 DOIs:
- A “comprehensive medical-legal” or “treating physician” report issued prior to 1/1/05 demonstrating the “existence” of PD.
- The employer was “required” to issue a Labor Code §4061 notice prior to 1/1/05.
If one or both of these exceptions apply, the old PDRS will be used.
Mark S. Fletcher is a Senior Partner and Managing Attorney of Bradford & Barthel, LLP.
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