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Tensions, Aggravations, Workcompcentral Solution
By Robert Warne - April 22, 2002

In 1905 Albert Einstein’s first paper on the theory of relativity proved to be the first scientific breakthrough in 150 years since Isaak Newton proposed his theory on gravity. Going beyond Newton, Einstein concluded that there was no such thing as absolute rest in the universe.

This theory would explain why David DePaolo, founder and CEO of Workcompcentral is so active. Whether he’s working or playing, riding a surfboard or standing before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB), he is in constant motion.

Einstein published his second paper on relativity in 1915. In this paper he postulated that gravity pulling in one direction is completely equivalent to acceleration in the opposite direction.

True to this theory during the 15 years DePaolo practiced law as a workers’ compensation defense attorney for insurance companies, whether he knew it or not he was on a crash course to starting Workcompcentral.

Einstein’s theories still baffle the minds of great thinkers today; but in Einstein’s day his theories pulled the rug out from under the world’s perceived reality.

Much like when DePaolo started Workcompcentral, his innovative concept for a website yanked the rug out from underneath the claims community.

As Einstein’s theory of relativity changed the way we perceive the world, DePaolo changed the way claims professionals perceive the world of workers’ compensation.

DePaolo didn’t need a physics degree to figure out that there was a serious void of easily accessible workers’ compensation legal data that needed to be filled.

He told that the development of the comprehensive workers’ compensation information and tools website was born of his frustration with legal research in the field when he practiced law.

“My secretaries remember books flying, dictation machine destruction, and of course choice profanity—all because I couldn’t find a citation to what I knew was the law,” said DePaolo. “Research that should take only 5 minutes was taking 30 minutes or longer. I figured I wasn’t the only one with this problem because the industry tools were all largely the same.”

The project started many years ago with DePaolo’s publication of a CD-ROM he called the California Workers’ Compensation Flowchart. This Adobe Acrobat interactive document integrated the labor code and regulations into 99 screens of explanation. The flowchart covered the comp system process from allegation of injury to resolution of liens and rehab.

The CD-ROM eventually evolved into a website to promote his legal practice. The buzz at the local WCAB offices started to increase proportionately to the rate that DePaolo added more resources to his website.

After a frustrating day of battle in trial at the Board in August 1999, DePaolo got the phone call that would change his life. “‘What are you going to do with your site?’ I was asked. I thought about it … for about 5 seconds … and concluded that this might be my way to really bring about some change in the industry,” recalled DePaolo.

He quit his law practice to devote his time and efforts to Workcompcentral with nine others who shared the same vision.

“I love workers’ compensation,” says DePaolo. “Think about the massive contribution to society this industry is responsible for. It is second only to Social Security in terms to indemnity and medical benefits to the U.S. population. Everyone that works, and everyone that employs someone, is affected by work comp. The industry is complex, arcane, and intimidating, even for those in the business. I have a very simple goal—to make work comp accessible, and as easy to research as possible with modern technologies.”

One of the crowning jewels of Workcompcentral is the global search function. Users have praised this feature, said DePaolo. The search function returns results that are highly relevant and arranged according to category so the user doesn’t have to wade through labor code, regulations or articles when looking for case law.

DePaolo recalls a demonstration he did for a carrier before many people knew about Workcompcentral. “House counsel complained that he had been looking for a form that dealt with death for the past 2 weeks but couldn’t find it. He asked if we had it. To which I responded that I didn’t know, but probably, since we have all of the official state forms on the site. I did a global search using the term ‘death,’ since our forms are also full text searchable. The first item that came up was a DIA 510 and the house counsel jumped up excitedly and screamed, ‘That’s it!’”

Claims professionals can now bypass the actuary by going to Workcompcentral. “They get very excited when they are shown how easy it is to perform permanent disability calculations, commutations, present value, multiple disabilities, average weekly wages and more using the site’s patent pending calculators,” said DePaolo.

He also said, “Claims trainees and seasoned veterans alike use the Flowchart for training or a starting point for research. EDEX inquiry searches are also available on the site, and for those that aren’t yet compliant with state mandated EDI filing of Employer’s First Reports of Injury, the site offers a quick solution with attractive transactional pricing for filing in 27 states.”

Workcompcentral is a paid-for subscription service, but the prices are very reasonable. The cost is $19.95 per month on an annual basis, and even better deals are available for institutional/bulk license purchases. You can preview the site with full access for free for seven days by going to, and then registering by clicking on the Join Free icon.

DePaolo continues to ride high on the wave of technology. With Workcompcentral he’s created the perfect spot for workers’ compensation web surfers seeking legal resources that weren’t available to him when he was practicing law.

Einstein proved that there is no such thing as absolute rest in the universe. There is no better place than the workers’ compensation system to support this scientific truth. And to piece together the information that represents an industry in constant flux, takes an innovator like DePaolo to organize the chaos into a house of order.


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