Decision Made in County of Alameda v. Knittel Case: Opinion

February 6th, 2013

The question about whether LC4850 benefits apply toward the 104 week temporary disability cap has finally been resolved in our favor. County of Alameda v. WCAB (Knittel), issued on January 30, 2013, found that salary continuation benefits paid to an injured public safety officer do count toward the 104 week limit on temporary disability benefits. Here is a copy of the case for your reading pleasure.  This is a published, citable case and can be relied upon in all cases. The decision means that any claim with a date of injury post January 1, 2008 should be reviewed to determine if the 104 week limit has been reached when including LC4850 benefits. If so, those benefits can be discontinued as of January 30, 2013. There will be no more paying one year of LC4850 and then two years of temporary disability on these cases.

This is great news, for now. The decision is based on the 2008 revision of the language within Labor Code 4656 and invites the parties to address the matter legislatively. The revised language specifies “aggregate disability payments” versus the 2004 language specifying the period of temporary disability is “upon commencement of temporary disability benefits.” The argument was that LC4850 benefits is a part of “disability payments” and is paid in lieu of temporary disability benefits. The 2004 language regarding the 104 cap was very specific to just temporary disability benefits. If the decision is not appealed to the Supreme Court, don’t be surprised if we see attempts to make some legislative changes to the Labor Code in the future, but for now—VICTORY!