DID TOSSED NUGGETS, FRIES AND A DRINK AT A WENDY’S EMPLOYEE CAUSE A WORK INJURY? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS #44

Had  a Wendy’s Frosty been involved, things could have been worse.  It is reported that  a Wendy’s Drive Thru Worker was  assaulted by nuggets, fries, and a drink.

An unhappy customer  contended that the bag the food came with a guarantee of hot and crispy food.  She felt her order did not meet that standard.  It is reported that “[s]he said that she got spicy nuggets instead of normal ones, saying they were burnt.” After profanity and outrage, it is reported she threw the bag of food at the worker.  Fox10phoenix.com

Was There a Work Injury?

From the facts, it does not appear that a physical injury was sustained. A physical injury is a term used to describe orthopedic injuries or wounds.   For example, if a glass bottle had been thrown and caused wounds, that would be considered as a physical injury.  In this instance, the injury would be considered as a mental injury. From the facts, it is possible that the worker may have sustained a psyche injury.  The news report indicated that the Worker was harassed, threatened, cursed at and had items thrown at her by an angry customer who overreacted. Such an injury would require the opinion of a mental health practitioner finding a psychiatric injury.  A finding would require a diagnosis such as PTSD, Anxiety Disorder or Depression.

If The Worker Had Gotten The Food Order Wrong Which Triggered The Incident, Would That Effect the Validity of the Work Injury Claim?

In this instance, no.  Workers’ Compensation is a “no fault” system.  In this instance, even if the employee got food order was wrong, the resultant incident would still be covered within workers’ compensation. Labor Code Section 3600, lays out that “(a) Liability for the compensation provided by this division, in lieu of any other liability …shall, without regard to negligence.”

While workers’ compensation is no fault, good faith personnel actions may bar a psychiatric claim.  Had there been no incident with the customer, a Worker being written up for improperly filling an order most likely would be considered a “good faith” personnel action.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

CAN A NFL FOOTBALL PLAYER’S AMPUTATION FROM A COLLEGE INJURY BECOME A NFL WORK-RELATED COMPENSATION CLAIM? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #43

It is reported that Marcus Davenport of the NFL Saints recently had part of his pinky amputated.  It is reported that the injury was from his college career.  Over the years, however, he has had several surgeries to his his pinky.  During his professional career, in 2021, he had a surgery on the finger. cbssports.com

This article will discuss whether a pre-existing injury can become a workers’ compensation injury.

Can A Pre-Existing Injury Become Work-Related?

Yes. California Workers’ Compensation Law provides that “industrial causation is established if the preponderance of evidence presented [show that employment proximately caused his/her medical condition] to “light up,” accelerate or aggravate. (§ 3600, subd. (a)(3); Pullman Kellogg, supra, at page 454; Tanenbaum, supra, at pp. 617–618; Franklin, supra, at pp. 244–245.) Proximate cause is shown if employment is a contributing cause. (McAllister at p. 418; Nash at p. 1809.) Employment as a contributing cause need not be a scientific certainty, a reasonable probability is sufficient. (McAllister, supra at p. 417; Rosas, supra, at pp. 1700–1701.)

In this circumstance, if Mr. Davenport’s NFL job duties worsened his pinky condition it is possible that he could file a work injury claim against his NFL team.  He would have to prove that his employment contributed to the worsening of the condition.  Typically, this would be proven by a treating doctor or qualified medical evaluator examining the current state of the injury, reviewing the records of his past medical treatment, and taking a history from the worker as to what happened at work that aggravated the condition.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

THE “LUCKIEST” WOUNDED EMPLOYEE? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #42

Television Golf Reporter, Sage Steele, sustained an industrial injury when a line drive golf ball struck her in the face at a Professional Tournament.  She sustained facial injuries which included dental.  She reported that she “the luckiest person in the world to still be here.”  Foxnews.com She reported “it is amazing how quickly life can change, right?” She reported that Steele said she has “a long way to go” in her recovery but extended thanks to all those who wished her well and her dentist for his extensive care. Foxnews.com

This fact pattern addresses many issues in workers’ compensation.  There are venue issues and treatment issues. This story offers a touch on the reality of the impact of serious work injuries upon an employee.

Where Should This Claim Be Filed? 

Jurisdiction and Venue are legal terms which address the location legal action may be filed. In Workers’ Compensation Law, there are several factors which may impact both the state and the location of where an action is filed.   Factors that are consider include the location of the employment, the residence of the employee, and the location of the injury.  In this instance, Ms. Steele may work out of a particular state, i.e. California. As such, California a proper venue.

Are Dental Injuries Covered Under Workers’ Compensation? 

Yes. In California, dental injuries are covered.   Thus, dental treatment to cure or relieve from the effects of the injury are to be provides in accordance with Labor Code Section 4600.  Dental treatment is subject to Utilization Review.  Depending upon the nature of the dental condition, a lifetime award can be provided if medically indicated.   For those not having dental insurance, the award of future care can be invaluable.

What Is the Lesson From This Work Injury?

Work injuries can be life changing events.  Significant life changes can include permanent medical conditions that can cause pain or impairment.  Likewise, serious injuries can end one’s ability to perform their vocation.  Ms. Steele’s view of being lucky represents the reality for many workers.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

A HOSPITAL SHOOTING: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS # 41

A tragic shooting occurred in a Tulsa Hospital.  The shooter had just received back surgery a few weeks before and was apparently not happy.  He killed the surgeon, another doctor, the receptionist and a patient.   The shooter then took his own life.

This article will discuss this matter under California Workers’ Compensation Law.  The discussion will be as to who is covered under workers’ compensation for this incident.  Additionally, the article will discuss what an Injured Worker can do within the workers’ compensation system if they feel that their back surgery was not successful.

Who Was An Employee In This Tragic Shooting?

While the tragic accident happened in the work setting, a hospital is a unique setting.  Doctor may have privileges at the hospital but they may not be employees of the hospital.  Likewise, they may be Private Practitioners and may be excluded from workers’ compensation coverage. Private Practitioners, however, may seek to be covered. If they have a corporation and are an employee of the corporation, it is possible that they could place themselves on the policy.  Assuming both doctors were self-employed, then only the receptionist, in this tragic shooting, would have been covered.

In the Workers’ Compensation Setting, How Does One Deal With An Injured Worker Deal With An Unsuccessful Back Surgery?

Back surgeries, in any setting, are complicated.  There are risks involved. Some procedures can take extended periods of time to heal. Some procedures are not successful.  Injured Workers in this situation can seek second opinions. They can also change of treating physician.  Further, other forms of treatment can be provided.  If there was significant pain,  a request for authorization for a Pain Specialist might be appropriate.  Likewise. a referral to mental health practitioner to assist an Injured Worker with emotional issues post-surgery.

Back surgeries can be so complicated that some doctors require a mental health clearance pre-surgery in certain circumstances.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

ATTACK AT HOSPITAL WITH MEDICAL WORKERS STABBED: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS # 40

Headlines reported that Encino Hospital Workers were attacked a stabbed by an Attacker.  These workers were reportedly in critical condition.  Dailymail.com

This article will discuss the immediate concern on this matter.

What Is the Major Concern with This Incident? 

Given the facts and the assumption that the same knife was used in the attack each victim, it is likely that the workers may have been exposed to each others blood.   Thus, a long term issue is the concern with respect to this injury is whether the workers were exposed to a  Blood Borne Illness.  Blood Borne Illnesses include Malaria, Syphilis, and Brucellosis, and Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).  As such, treatment and monitoring for these illnesses would be part of the work injury protocol.  Thus, besides treating the Injured Workers  wounds and likely psychological injuries, an additional Internal Medicine Program will be included to provide prophylaxis treatment as well as testing and monitoring for blood borne pathogens.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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