In the Belling case, the applicant was unable to communicate due to suffering a stroke. The spouse was performing home healthcare functions. She spoke to the PQME at the evaluations about the applicant, how he was doing, what she noticed, what activities she helps with, etc. The defendant argued this constituted ex parte communication. The Board held this was not ex parte communication because the wife was not a party to the case. However, you may be able to similarly reduce the value of permanent disability in a case by having the spouse speak with the doctor about the injured worker’s activities of daily living.
In a recent decision, the Workers’ Comp Appeals Board affirmed its prior decision in Aguilera v. Collins Chiropractic Group which said that a plaintiff’s industrial injury caused only 88% permanent disability rather than the 100% determined by the Workers’ Comp Judge.