WCAB Van Nuys District Office,
April 21, 2020
The WCAB overturned the Workers' Compensastion Judge, indicating that he should not have discounted the internal AME’s medical opinion whereby the doctor found that the addition of the applicant’s disabilities together more accurately represented the totality of disability, rather than using the Combined Values Chart, which effectively compacts the overall disability. That is, implementing the Kite case was a valid way to approach the disability in maximizing benefits to the injured worker. What is significant here are at least two things. One, the WCAB made it clear that even if the disability added together results in a disability of over 100 percent, it does not mean that adding the disability should not be used, as 100 percent is the legal measure for an award. Second, the internal AME's quote that the WCAB uses is significant. The quote states, “the combination of his orthopedic, gastrointestinal, sleep and headache impairment causes greater disability/impairment than what would be calculated by using the CVC. Hence adding those impairments is more accurate..." Typically we have seen "Kite-type" cases limited to bilateral extremities. This may open the door to the “synergistic effect” of many different impairments, disabilities and conditions in different medical specialties added together for a permanent disability rating, which will allow for more accurate and comprehensive disability awards.
*This matter remains in litigation and was remanded back to the WCAB for a supplemental report or the cross-examination of the internal AME.