• What is a Subsequent Injury Trust Fund in California?

    What is a Subsequent Injury Trust Fund in California?

    When you sustain a work-related injury, but already have a previous injury or disability, you may have a claim against the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF), so long as the combined total of your disability is above 70%.

    In order to qualify for California’s SIBTF, the current industrial injury has to amount to at least 35% disability or at least 5% if there’s a corresponding opposite body part. The idea behind this fund is for the State of California to pay handicapped employees or workers who suffer any subsequent industrial injury.

    While records have shown a rising number in workers’ compensation claims seeking benefits from the SIBTF, under California’s Labor Code § 4751, the process of claiming from this SIB fund is often complex. Unfortunately, not all attorneys who deal with work-related injury cases handle SIBTF claims.

    So, what is a subsequent injury trust fund in California? We’re going to look at some of the most critical things you should know.

    Understanding the Legislative

    Understanding the Legislative Intent of Labor Code § 4751

    The legislative intent of California’s Labor Code § 4751 was to allow workers with any pre-existing disabilities to have the right to obtain any gainful employment without an employer having any concerns regarding economic responsibility for a worker’s pre-existing condition, should they incur a work-related injury that may cause the pre-existing disability to worsen. Despite this, there was a need to have a legal mechanism in place to assist workers should their disability increase. This is where the SIBTF comes in.

    With the complexity of understanding Labor Code § 4751, litigators often find it hard when it comes to deciding how to prepare a SIBTF case for trial. Understanding the code is critical to providing litigators the necessary guidance when dealing with issues presented by the statute, as well as guiding workers who are eligible as to the right steps to take.

    The SIBTF Threshold

    The SIBTF has two main elements. The first one is that the worker’s permanent disability must be determined at a specific disability level from the present worker’s industrial injury. Second, the injured worker or employee must have a verifiable and credible pre-existing disability, medical condition or surgery, which in one way or another, limited them in seeking employment in the labor market. If all of these conditions exist, an injured worker may be entitled to lifetime benefits through the SIBTF.

    However, to qualify for the SIBTF funds, the worker has to meet some of these conditions:

    • They must have a pre-existing permanent disability which can either be industrial or non-industrial in origin
    • They must have a verifiable subsequent industrial disability
    • The disabilities combined must be greater than what the worker’s disability would have been if only the subsequent injury had been suffered and not the pre-existing one
    • The two disabilities when combined must be equal to at least 70% or more

    It’s important to note that even if you qualify, the fund can claim credit for social security disability insurance payments as well as disability pensions. Being familiar with the SIBTF threshold is a critical part of understanding a subsequent injury trust fund in California.

    Why an Applicant Attorney Should do SIBTF

    Work with the right applicant attorney

    In workers’ compensation cases where an injured worker qualifies for the SIBTF, it’s the norm to find only a few lawyers who are willing to take the path of doing SIBTF. For lawyers who want to get the best for their clients, the fund can get an injured worked the much needed additional benefits for the duration of the lives. By doing so, clients can live a much better quality of life and have less stress.

    Beyond this, attorneys usually receive a portion of the SIBTF payout of the claim which is also subject to “Cost of Living Adjust” increases as deemed appropriate. Any injured worker who meets the SIBTF threshold is entitled to receive the fund benefits. If an attorney is not willing to help them get the benefits, they are free to seek the services of an experienced and knowledgeable applicant attorney who is ready and willing to help them with SIBTF.

    Pre-Existing Disability Must be “Labor Disabling”

    In order for a worker to qualify for the SIBTF benefits, they must be able to prove that prior to the subsequent industrial injury, they had attained the factual status of the permanently partially disabled as per California’s laws, and that such previously known disability was labor disabling. However, the previous knowledge by the employer is not required as a legal condition to award the employee benefits from the SIBTF.

    Statute of Limitations for SIBTF Cases

    There is no specified statute of limitations that directly applies to SIBTF cases, but the applications must be filed within a reasonable time frame. Otherwise, understanding what is a subsequent injury trust fund in California for the average worker can be complex, unless they work closely with an informed applicant attorney.


    If you’re an injured worker with a previous disability and have an applicant attorney representing you, it’s important to inquire about SIBTF. In the process of getting the benefits, an independent evaluation is usually done to prove the pre-existing or subsequent injury. In regards to this, working with the right independent medical evaluators is critical. At Arrowhead Evaluation Services, we provide the most comprehensive independent medical evaluation services to attorneys and their clients to help them answer complex questions related to SIBTF cases.

    Feel free to schedule an evaluation online or contact us directly at (888) 888-0098 to discuss your needs.

  • Orthopedic Expert Witness Riverside & Los Angeles

    Dr. Donald Kim

    Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. is an experienced and board-certified orthopedic expert witness offering services in Riverside and Los Angeles counties. He holds active and current licensing (California: G058622), issued September 1986 and is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. If you’re searching for a well-established Los Angeles or Riverside orthopedic expert witness, Dr. Kim has years of expertise, offering the most objective and unbiased orthopedic expert witness testimony to support medical-legal matters in court.

    With the proliferation of personal injury, workers’ compensation and medical malpractice lawsuits, courts are increasingly relying on medical expert testimony to decide lawsuits involving complex medical-legal issues. When it comes to understanding issues regarding causation, prognosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system in general liability, civil litigation and workers’ compensation cases, Dr. Kim is competent, qualified and experienced in providing the litigation support needed to help resolve a claimant’s case.

    As a clinical orthopedic expert with hands-on experience in the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of various conditions of the musculoskeletal system, which encompass all muscles, tendons, bones, joints, ligaments, nerves and associated anatomical features and parts, Dr. Kim is qualified to offer expert witness testimony in cases where core medical-legal issues need to be addressed. He works closely with legal experts to ensure that the testimony provided is factual and based on the latest orthopedic best practices.

    Professional Qualifications

    Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of California in San Francisco, CA in June 1985. He also completed his internship (Surgery) at the University of California, Los Angeles, CA from June 1985 to June 1986. He did his residency (Orthopedic surgery) at the University of California Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA from July 1986 to June 1988, the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Washington D.C. from July 1989 to June 1990 (Orthopedic surgery) and the Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C. from July 1990 to June 1992 (Orthopedic surgery).

    Dr. Kim completed his fellowship at the Children’s Hospital, University of California, San Diego at the Pediatric Orthopedic Department, from August 1992 to July 1993 (Orthopedic surgery). With the skills and expertise gained from years of medical practice, he has been able to give judges and juries a basis by which to evaluate and analyze conflicting issues in orthopedic injury, malpractice and workers compensation cases, by providing credible and defensible Los Angeles and Riverside orthopedic expert witness testimony that can stand in court.  

    Background and Experience

    Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. has a wide ranging background in clinical and forensic orthopedic medical services, and is a well-established Riverside and Los Angeles orthopedic expert witness. After completing his fellowship at Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C. from July 1990 to June 1992 (Orthopedic surgery), he started his private practice at the QTC Medical Group, Diamond Bar, California, from 1988 to 1989. He also worked at the Greater Southwest Community Hospital in Washington D.C. from 1991 to 1992. He has been in private practice at the Orthopedic Medical Group of Riverside from 1993 to present.

    Dr. Kim is affiliated with the Riverside Community Hospital where he served as a member of the Orthopedic committee and the Physician’s Well-Being Committee, and the Parkview Community Hospital where he served on the Transfusion Committee as a member. He also served as Board of Counsellor at Riverside County Medical Association for 5 years, from 1996 to 2001 and was a member of the Riverside County Medical Association Medical Review Advisory Committee. His wide-ranging experience makes him one of the top expert witnesses in Huffington and Riverside in California.

    With over 28 years of medical practice, he has worked with numerous attorneys, both as a professional orthopedic consultant and expert witness. He has also been recognized extensively in his career as a reliable Riverside orthopedic expert witness in spinal surgery, pediatric orthopedics, sports medicine and other medical-legal cases. As a dedicated expert witness, Dr. Kim understands that the type of testimony provided before a jury can have a huge impact on a claimant’s case.

    In addition to his primary Riverside location, Dr. Kim regularly practices in the following Southern California cities, seeing QME, AME, IME, disability evaluations, fitness for duty evaluation (FFD), and SIBTF appointments, as well as servings as an orthopedic expert witness:

    • Indio
    • Rialto
    • Los Angeles
    • Inglewood
    • Hemet
    • Huntington Park
    • Moreno Valley
    • Fontana
    • South Gate
    • San Bernardino
    • Victorville


    Professional Achievements and Services

    Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. has attained various professional achievements over the years and contributed greatly to wide-ranging issues related to orthopedic expert testimony work. Some of the professional achievements and services include:

    • Graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a BA in Science in Three years
    • Graduated from the University of California, Irvine with Magma Cum Laude signifying the top 2-4% of the graduating class for 1981.
    • Graduated from the University of California, Irvine with Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and current member.
    • Top score in the Orthopedic In-training examination in 1989 (100 percentile).
    • Ranked top 100 percentile in the Orthopedic In-training examination In 1990.
    • Ranked top 100 percentile in the Orthopedic In-training Examination in 1991.
    • Passed written American Board of Orthopedic Surgery test in top 99th percentile in 1994
    • Passed American Board of Orthopedic Surgery Recertification with top 99th percentile score 3/01/02 (for Certification good during 1/2006 – 12/2015)
    • Orthopedic In-training examination is given once a year to all orthopedic surgery residents in the United States. This is a standardized test and the scores are graded on percentile ranking to surgery residence in the same Year. 100 percentile signifies the highest possible score.
    • Voted to America’s Top Surgeons (by the Consumer’s Research Council of America) 2002-2003; 2004-2005


    Professional Medical Associations and Memberships

    Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. is also a member of various recognized professional medical associations, including:

    • Diplomate, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery
    • Fellow, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery
    • Member, California Orthopaedic Association
    • Member, Riverside County Medical Association
    • Member, California Medical Association
    • Member, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
    • Member, Korean American Medical Association
    • Qualified Medical Evaluator for the State of California
    • Deacon for Joong-Ang Presbyterian Church since 1993
    • Expert witness Affirmation Statement Signed and filed with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery June 1, 2004


    Areas of Specialization

    Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. has special interest in pediatric orthopedics, scoliosis, spine surgery, total joint replacement, sports medicine and arthroscopy surgery. When you need a qualified and certified Riverside or Los Angeles orthopedic expert witness to support your case, look no further. Dr. Kim provides credible and defensible litigation insights and timely witness testimony reports, so you can get through the conclusion of your case quickly.  


    Professional Orthopedic Expert Witness

    The right orthopedic expert witness can be a great asset to you and your claimant’s case. Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. is able to perform orthopedic independent medical evaluations which allow for objective and impartial evaluation of a patient’s physical condition, is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and has been in private practice for more than 28 years, making him one of the most established Riverside orthopedic expert witnesses. He works closely with legal experts to help them uncover and substantiating the true facts of the case.

    Whether you’re dealing with an orthopedic medical malpractice case, a workers’ compensation case that involves musculoskeletal injuries or a civil litigation case, Dr. Kim is able to determine whether the standards of care due to the patient were evaluated. Using his expertise, he’s able to conduct comprehensive medical reviews, interpret imaging, review prior clinical history and follow established medical practices to resolve orthopedic negligence cases.

    He provides the information needed for the basis of the case, informs you on the technicalities, and explains the standard of orthopedic surgery to the jury and the established deviations in the standard of care. Dr. Kim is truly knowledgeable in the area of orthopedics, and just like other professional expert witnesses, he plays a critical role in helping establish the legal merit and success of you and your claimant’s case.


    Get the Litigation Support You Need

    Dr. Donald Kim, M.D. offers his expert witness services at Arrowhead Evaluation Services, one of California’s largest medical-legal providers of medical evaluation and expert witness services. When you need litigation legal insight that you can count on, AES provides the largest panel of experts to choose from. With Riverside orthopedic expert witnesses like Dr. Kim, we’re able to skillfully service all your litigation support needs, from scheduling medical evaluations to preparing expert witness testimony to the conclusion of your case.  

    Arrowhead Evaluation Services is consistently assessing the right IME and expert witness experts for your case. If you’d like further information about Dr. Kim, including his CV and fee schedule, please email experts@arrowheadeval.com. You can easily schedule an evaluation by contacting us at (909) 255-8030 or filling out our quick online evaluation request form today.

  • California Subsequent Injuries Funds: What You Need to Know

    California Subsequent Injuries Funds: What You Need to Know

    If a disabled worker sustains injuries in the workplace, and already had a prior disability, the State of California provides benefits in the form of the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF). The SIBTF was created in 1945 by California’s legislature to encourage employers across all industries to hire disabled workers, without worrying about taking full responsibility for their pre-existing disabilities. Qualifying for the California Subsequent Injuries Fund is a complicated process, which is why, only injured workers who’re represented by a qualified attorney apply.

    Workers’ comp cases dealing with the complex Subsequent Injuries Fund have been increasing. For attorneys representing injured clients, there are various issues that they need to be familiar with before handling such cases. While the core issue in SIBTF cases is whether or not an injured worker meets the threshold to qualify for additional compensation from the SIBTF, understanding how the SIBTF works is critical in resolving complex workers comp cases.

    Here’s what to know about California’s SIFs:

    What is Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF)?

    The SIBTF is a legally-accepted, potential source of additional workers comp benefits for any injured worker in California, who already had a known pre-existing impairment or disability at the time of the current injury. The benefits for these cases are pursued through the SIBTF. Although some attorneys handling workers’ comp cases don’t seek or identify SIBTF benefits in injury cases, an applicant attorney representing a client is usually obligated to do so.

    In most cases, application attorneys refer the SIBTF aspect of workers’ compensation cases to attorneys who are more experienced in handling SIBTF cases, under the Labor Code § 4751. The California Subsequent Injuries Fund can provide lifetime benefits to an injured worker, a portion of which goes to the attorneys handling the case for the duration of the injury claim.

    Understanding the Legislative Intent of Labor Code § 4751

    While there are different types of legislative laws outlining how workers compensation cases should be handled in California, SIFs, falling under Labor Code § 4751, allow injured workers with pre-existing impairments or disabilities to have an opportunity to find and get any form of gainful employment in their skill set, without employers worrying about being responsible in any way for a worker’s pre-existing conditions, should they sustain work-related injuries that result in the pre-existing condition or disability becoming worse.

    The Labor Code § 4751 was put in place as a mechanism to assist workers, should their disability increase in such circumstances. The main purpose of the California Subsequent Injuries Fund is to both encourage disabled or impaired persons to go ahead and seek employment and to also encourage employers to hire disabled or impaired persons.

    What’s the Threshold for California’s SIBTF?


    To identify cases that qualify for Subsequent Injury Fund benefits, application attorneys must ensure that a client’s case meets the required thresholds. California’s SIF has certain main elements that you should know:

    • The injured worker must have a pre-existing permanent impairment, medical condition or disability that prevented them from accessing any form of employment.
    • The worker must have a subsequent industrial impairment, medical condition or disability.
    • When the two disabilities are combined, they have to be greater than what the worker’s disability would have been if the worker suffered only the subsequent injury and not the pre-existing impairment or disability.
    • The two disabilities when combined must be equal to 70% or more of the total permanent disability.
    • The new work-related injury must also cause at least 35% permanent disability without any form of adjusting factors coming into play.

    If an injured worker you’re representing in a California Subsequent Injuries Fund case qualifies, the State of California helps make up the difference between the worker’s overall impairment or disability and the amount of disability resulting from the subsequent work-related injury alone.

    Who is Eligible for the Lifetime Benefits of SIBTF?

    California’s SIBTF offers a detailed guideline on eligibility requirements and guidelines when dealing with subsequent injury fund cases. Injured workers may be eligible for the lifetime benefits of SIBTF during a workers’ compensation claim if they had heart disease, arthritis, lung problems, heart murmur, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, thyroid problems, cancers, Crohn’s disease, anemia and a wide range of other medical conditions prior to the claim.

    Why Attorneys Should Consider SIBTF for Their Clients

    When dealing with workplace injury cases that make a pre-existing condition get worse, attorneys consider doing SIBTF for their clients. By doing so, they’re helping their clients get the needed additional benefits for the rest of their lives, improving their lives while also giving them a little less stress. Beyond the benefits, attorneys also receive a portion of the Subsequent Injury Benefits Trust Fund payout for the entire duration of the worker’s compensation claim, which is also subject to any Cost of Living Adjust increases as deemed appropriate.

    The Application Process


    The application process for the California Subsequent Injuries Fund benefits is complex. It’s important to understand that disability pension and Social Security Disability benefits often come into play when dealing with SIF cases. There is also medical and legal evidence that must be prepared and taken to court to support the SIBTF claim. At Arrowhead Evaluation Services, we work closely with application attorneys representing injured workers in SIBTF cases to create credible and defensible medical reports that can help resolve complex medical-legal issues.

    Since 1987, Arrowhead Evaluation Services has been providing the most selective medical-legal services to attorneys throughout California. We’re dedicated to helping you and your claimant resolve claims quickly, so lives can move forward. Wondering what to know about SIFs before handling an injured worker’s case? Need help with getting objective and independent medical evaluations or reliable testimony to support your case? Our friendly and knowledge staff is ready to assist you. Talk to us at (888) 888-0098.

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