Starting or building a new business is hard work. Small businesses form the backbone of the American economy, and California is no exception. If you have your own business or if you are involved in the running of a business, you know that there are hours of blood, sweat, and tears, poured into making that business a success. Everything from considering store front location to building community good will to keeping up with collection of accounts receivable are all essential steps in making sure that your business stays afloat and prospers. Along your business building journey, you have likely learned many tips and tricks not only of your particular field of business, but of related businesses, as well. If you have or run an interpreter business that provides interpreter services for workers’ compensation cases in California, Board Rule 10545 could be one of those tricks and can be a WCAB interpreter’s secret weapon.
If you run your own business or are involved in accounts receivable for an interpreter business, you already know that actually collecting on those invoices can sometimes be challenging. In some cases, you may consider filing a workers’ compensation lien on the case in order to be absolutely sure that you will be paid for your quality work. For treatment services, a Lien is the best path. That said, there are costs associated with filing workers’ compensation liens, and it could be years or longer before that lien is paid off. There are also services you provide as an interpreter that do not require you to exhaust your remedies filing a lien. These services include deposition preparation, depositions, court appearance, and settlement translation. California labor code 9795.4 “Time for Payment; Effective Date” discusses how long a carrier has to actually pay the invoices for those services rendered. The statute very clearly provides that “All expenses for interpreter services shall be paid within 60 days after receipt by the claims administrator of the bill for services”. There is a caveat, however, as the claims administrator will have a chance to contest all or part of the amount for which you bill. The statute does go on to require that if there is an uncontested amount of the invoice, the carrier needs to promptly pay at least that amount.
This is where Board Rule 10545 can become your secret weapon against carriers who drag their feet. Board rule provides that if a carrier fails to make prompt and timely payments in good faith or if the delay was a result of bad faith actions or tactics, there can be monetary repercussions. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is permitted to impose monetary sanctions on that bad faith carrier and allows for reasonable attorney’s fees. The statute states the amount of sanctions may vary, but shall not be less than $500. In addition, those sanctions and attorney’s fees are paid by carrier. This is not a cost that will be shifted onto the interpreter or come out of the invoice that they are trying to collect. Keep in mind that in order to collect these sanctions or attorney’s fees, you must have proof of service of your invoice on the carrier at least sixty days prior to the filing of your petition requesting these sanctions.
We have extensive experience helping our clients with interpreter collection in workers’ compensation cases, and we can talk with you about your evidence and how we can help you collect your invoices. Contact us today for a consultation.