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Christopher Vincent, Associate Attorney (DGC Orange County), Settles Skull Fracture Claim with Pro Per Claimant and Precludes Protracted Litigation

This matter was referred to Chris Vincent on February 11, 2021 with instruction to draft a C&R for $20,000.00 to secure the unrepresented injured worker’s agreement so that an Order Approving could be attained. The facts were not run-of-the-mill.

The claimant, a restaurant worker, had a history of grand mal seizures since age 15 and would typically experience one every two to three months. While working on March 4, 2019, he did have such a seizure, causing him to fall to the ground, hitting his head and losing consciousness. He was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a skull fracture, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and subdural hematoma.

Fortunately, the claimant made a substantial recovery, although he continued to experience headaches, fatigue, nervousness, moments of depression, trouble processing stimuli, and difficulty with short-term memory. He was temporarily totally disabled for about six and a half months, then gradually returned to part-time and eventually full-time work. He later voluntarily separated from his employment.

On June 17, 2020, he was evaluated by a panel QME neurologist, who assessed 8% WPI based on benign forgetfulness. Any psychological factors were deferred to the appropriate specialist. The claimant did not request a second QME panel. The PD rating was 11%.

Chris opted for a low-pressure approach, with telephone communication and occasional follow-up emails, building rapport and allowing the claimant time to review the settlement documents and consider options. Chris promptly and thoughtfully answered a number of the claimant’s questions regarding the proposed settlement. In turn, the claimant agreed to, signed, and returned the C&R to Chris in decidedly quick fashion. An Order Approving was issued on March 16, 2021.

This claim had a high risk of multiple additional QME panels and a substantially higher settlement if it became litigated. Based on the communication with the claimant, he appeared to be a sophisticated individual who nonetheless could have chosen to retain counsel. However, it is most likely that the claims examiner’s and Chris’ cordial, low-key approach played a large role in this pro per claimant’s decision to settle.

You can read redacted versions of the Compromise and Release and Order Approving Compromise and Release below.


Compromise and Release: Click here

Order Approving Compromise and Release: Click here


Media Contacts:                                                                                                                      

Company Name: Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC
Full Name: David Jankosky, DGC Client Services (213-278-1513)
Email Address: djankosky@dgcattorneys.com

2021-05-14T11:28:40-07:00May 14th, 2021|News Articles|

DGC Partner, Alan Cooper (Greater Los Angeles Office), Certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization for Workers’ Compensation Law

DGC Partner in Greater Los Angeles, Alan Cooper, has earned his Certificate of Specialization in Workers’ Compensation Law from the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization as of April 1, 2021.

Becoming a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law with the State Bar of California is a process which can be undertaken only every two years. The process begins with a comprehensive exam lasting 6 ½ hours. The four-hour morning session is spent writing eight essays. In the afternoon, there are 75 multiple-choice questions to answer within 2 ½ hours. In addition, an aspiring candidate must submit written evaluations from judges and other attorneys, along with proof of completion of at least 45 MCLE hours. After the requirements have been met, a final decision on certification generally takes six months.

Statewide, Certified Specialists are recognized as authorities on issues of importance within their specialization and are identified as such when interviewed by media. Only specialists can be searched by practice area on the California State Bar website.

Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen congratulates Alan Cooper on his most recent accomplishment.

More information can be found here:

Media Contacts:                                                                                                                      

Company Name: Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC
Full Name: David Jankosky, DGC Client Services (213-278-1513)
Email Address: djankosky@dgcattorneys.com

2021-04-01T08:52:04-07:00April 1st, 2021|News Articles|

Celebrating DGC Attorney Jason L. Buscaino, Appointed WCJ In San Bernardino

Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen is pleased to announce the appointment of Attorney Jason L. Buscaino as a workers’ compensation judge for the DWC district office in San Bernardino.  Our firm is grateful to Jason for the leadership and integrity he has exhibited both in his relationships within the firm and in his successful representation of our clients.

Jason has been a skillful defense litigator for DGC clients, utilizing his extensive legal knowledge and excellent communication skills.  He has earned the respect of claims examiners, employers, and brokers for his ability to settle complex claims while considering the interests of everyone involved.

Jason is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.  He had gained experience working in civil matters and in the representation of applicants before joining DGC.  Partner Mark Gilmor praised Jason’s achievements saying, “It makes perfect sense that the State would seek to have on the bench a person with Jason’s character, ethical standards, legal knowledge, and varied experience.”

Jason will begin his position with the State of California later in January 2021.

On behalf of our entire DGC family, thank you, Jason.  We wish you all the best in your new endeavor.  We will miss you at DGC.


Bill Dietz, Mark Gilmor, and Avery Chazen

Media Contacts:                                                                                                                      

Company Name: Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC
Full Name: David Jankosky, DGC Client Services (213-278-1513)
Email Address: djankosky@dgcattorneys.com

2021-02-18T13:35:50-08:00January 12th, 2021|News Articles|

Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen Announces Alan Cooper as New Firm Partner

Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC, is proud to announce the promotion of Alan Cooper to firm Partner.

San Diego, CA – 10/02/2020– Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC, a California statewide law firm practicing exclusively in workers’ compensation defense, subrogation, asbestos, Labor Code §132a, and serious and willful misconduct claims, promotes Alan Cooper, Esq. to Partner.

“In recognition of his significant achievements and commitment to the firm, Alan has earned the title of partner, now conferred on him by the managing partners,” said Rob Robinson, Partner and Managing Attorney of the Encino office, speaking on behalf of firm Principals Bill Dietz, Mark Gilmor and Avery Chazen.

About Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC

DGC was established in 1997 and has now grown to eight California Offices, with 42 attorneys, providing defense for insurance carriers, brokers, third-party administrators, private and public employers, and large self-insured groups.  The firm’s guiding principles are based on providing exceptional customer service and legal representation.  DGC provides the expertise needed to reduce claim costs and achieve prompt case resolution.  Please visit the firm’s website for more information at https://dgcattorneys.com

Media Contacts:                                                                                                                      

Company Name: Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC
Full Name: David Jankosky, DGC Client Services (213-278-1513)
Email Address: djankosky@dgcattorneys.com

2020-11-06T10:00:49-08:00November 6th, 2020|News Articles|

COVID-19 Update from Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen – Executive Order N-62-20, Non-Presumption Claims, and WCAB News


  • Covered dates of potential exposure – 03/19/2020 – 07/05/2020.
  • Temporary rebuttable presumption of injury AOE/COE for an employee’s COVID-19-related illness if:
    • The work was performed on or after 03/19/20.
    • The employee was directed by the employer to perform work at a location other than the employee’s home.
    • The employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the employee worked at the employer’s direction.
    • A California-licensed physician made the initial diagnosis, and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.
  • Period to reject claim is shortened to 30 days from date of filing of claim form.
  • If not rejected within the 30-day period, the claim is presumed compensable, unless rebutted by evidence only discovered after the 30-day period.
  • All workers’ compensation benefits, including death benefits, available.
  • Permanent disability is subject to apportionment.
  • If employee has paid sick leave (PSL) benefits specifically available in response to COVID-19, those benefits must be exhausted before any TD or LC 4850 benefits will be due and payable.
  • No waiting period for TD.
  • For TD before 05/06/2020 – If the employee tested positive or was diagnosed with COVID-19 before 05/06/2020, then by 05/21/2020, employee must obtain a certification documenting the period for which the employee was TD and unable to work, and must be re-certified every 15 days thereafter, for the first 45 days after the diagnosis.
  • For TD after 05/06/2020 – If the employee tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19 on or after 05/06/2020, the employee must be certified for TD within the first 15 days after the initial diagnosis, and must be re-certified every 15 days thereafter, for the first 45 days after the diagnosis.
  • The physician certifying TD must hold a California physician and surgeon license.
  • The Department of Industrial Relations is precluded from collecting any death benefit payment arising out of claims covered by the Order.
  • The Order applies to workers’ compensation insurers writing policies that provide coverage in California, self-insured employers, and any other employer carrying its own risk, including the State of California.

Tips for Employers:

    • If an employee tested positive or was diagnosed with COVID-19 between 03/19/2020 to the present, after working at the employer’s direction at a location other than the employee’s residence, provide a claim form to the employee as soon as possible, if not done previously.
    • Going forward up to and including 07/19/2020 (14 days after the last date of the Order’s specified exposure period), provide a claim form within 24 hours of obtaining knowledge, from any source, that employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 after working at the employer’s direction at a job site that is not the employee’s residence.


  • A blanket approach to providing claims forms during the pandemic is not recommended. An employee is likely to think the form must be completed and filed, even if he or she has not been exposed to the coronavirus.  Once the claim form is filed, a claim is created, which triggers rights and obligations.  The resulting flood of claims would be highly burdensome.
  • Here are some guidelines that should help:
    • A claim form must be provided if an employee asks for one.
    • A claim form must be provided if an employer receives knowledge, from any source, that (1) the employee was diagnosed with COVID-19 and (2) either it is work-related, or the employee is claiming it is work-related.
    • If a claim form is not required to be provided, consider the nature of the employee’s work, the work environment (working remotely?), whether the employee has actually tested positive for the novel coronavirus or been diagnosed with COVID-19, whether the employee has health insurance, and any factors unique to the situation. The facts may weigh in favor of providing a claim form.

Reminder for Employers:

    • Providing a claim form does not mean acceptance of the claim.


  • If the new presumption of injury AOE/COE does not apply to a claim, an employee can litigate injury AOE/COE.
  • Normally, no exposure for WC benefits for non-occupational diseases, which is what COVID-19 is, since the novel coronavirus is found throughout the world and can affect anyone, not just employees.
  • The employee will prevail if there is substantial evidence that his or her risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus was probably higher than the general public’s. (Note: scientific certainty is not required to be proven.)
  • Compensability can extend to injuries from the side effects of medications or procedures used to treat COVID-19, not just injuries from the direct damage wrought by the novel coronavirus.


  • If employer has directed employee to work from home, or given permission, then the employee’s home becomes a second job site, and employer benefits from employee’s services, so injury at home will probably be compensable.
  • The personal comfort doctrine is another theory that will support compensability of an injury such as slipping and falling in the bathroom.

WCAB NEWS The Boards remain closed to the public at this time.  Hearings, now including case-in-chief trials, are being conducted telephonically by calling the WCJs’ telephone conference lines. Documents are to be filed electronically via EAMS or JET File or paper filing by U.S. Mail.  (If none of those filing procedures will work, email filing is a last resort.) To learn the latest changes in WCAB policies and procedures, you can check for news releases at https://www.dir.ca.gov/dirnews


Media Contacts: Company Name:  Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC
Industry:  California workers’ compensation defense
Full Name:  David Jankosky, DGC Client Services
Email Address:  djankosky@dgcattorneys.com

2020-08-26T10:17:41-07:00May 13th, 2020|COVID-19 News|
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