Understanding the California Workers’ Compensation Language

05 June 2012 / California Workers Compensation / Comments Off on Understanding the California Workers’ Compensation Language

Understanding the California workers’ compensation language was like earning a badge of courage. This was something that medical school had completely overlooked.


There were phrases, definitions, labor codes, and things like pr2, pr3, p and s, vocational retraining, and even words that sounded simple enough, but in actuality, meant things completely different, like “mild”, “moderate” and “severe”. It was pretty impressive. I remember the interviews that grilled new doctors to assess their understanding of this twisted and seemingly bizarre parallel universe. It went something like this: “So if his pain is slightly moderate, then increased to moderate severe with very prolonged and sustained grasping, how would you assess the loss of pre-injury capacity on the open labor market?” I quickly began to realize why most primary care clinics did not accept occupational injuries.


What’s more, this learning curve did not take place in a single book, with a single patient, carrier, adjuster, lawyer, or even doctor, but was rather was scattered all about me like an endless treasure hunt to put all of the concepts together and try to make sense of it all. Forget the medicine, that was pretty straight forward, but try to decipher an attorney letter! It was all I could do to not embarrass myself. Many of my patients even understood the system better than me. It was a very humbling beginning.

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