Denial of Petition for Autopsy of Deceased Worker
In Hughes v. Willig Freight (1981), supra, 46 Cal.Comp.Cases 685, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, sitting en banc, denied a petition for reconsideration of an order directing the exhumation and autopsy of a deceased worker because the order was not "final" under section 5900.
In doing so, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board characterized the order as one regulating the production of evidence and not one determining a substantial right.
It considered the applicable authority, the policy reasons supporting the need for prompt action, and the practical concerns affecting the conduct of compensation proceedings.
After full evaluation of all of the pertinent factors, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board concluded the order was not final and therefore not appropriate for reconsideration. (46 Cal.Comp.Cases at p. 688.)
The characterization of an order as final and therefore susceptible to Board reconsideration has critical consequences.
For example, the failure of the aggrieved party to petition timely for reconsideration of such an order bars later challenge to the propriety of the order before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board or before the courts. (See Rymer v. Hagler, supra, 211 Cal. App. 3d at p. 1180; Scott v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1981) 122 Cal. App. 3d 979, 984 176 Cal. Rptr. 267.)
Also, the failure of the aggrieved party to raise in the petition for reconsideration a particular "objection, irregularity, or illegality" waives the issue forever and the party may not present it in a subsequent petition to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board or in a petition to the court under section 5950. ( 5904; U.S. Auto Stores v. Workmen's Comp. Appeals Bd., supra, 4 Cal. 3d at pp. 476-477; Kaiser Foundation Hospitals v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., supra, 82 Cal. App. 3d at p. 44; Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1990) 219 Cal. App. 3d 1265, 1273 268 Cal. Rptr. 699; Anderson-Cottonwood Disposal Service v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1982) 135 Cal. App. 3d 326, 334 185 Cal. Rptr. 336.)