HOUSEKEEPER ENCOUNTERS MYSTERY SUBSTANCE AND SUSTAINS INJURY: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS #71

A Hotel Housekeeper became ill when she encountered a mysterious white powder in a hotel room.  It was reported that there was  “a “white powdery substance” near the bathroom sink and [the worker] began feeling dizzy and nauseous…” Nypost.com  According to the reports, tests found that the substance was not hazardous material.

This article will discuss how this type of claim would be handled from the onset within the workers’ compensation system.

After the Worker Got Hurt, What Should Happen?

In California, Employers are obligated to provide treatment.  The Hotel Worker, in this matter, would be taken to a medical facility to be treated and evaluated.  Hopefully, the Worker would receive blood, urine and drug testing.

Because of the mysterious nature of the powder, the insurance company most likely would delay in accepting liability for the claim. . The insurance company may want to know “what was in the powder?” before taking any action.  Under Labor Code 5402, the insurance company is allowed to investigate a claim for 90 days.

How Will This Case Be Proven To Be Work-Related?

In this matter, the initial medical treatment records will be important.  The worker’s medical diagnosis is critical.  The nature of the powder, however, is of lesser importance.

Even if the powder was not toxic and was benign, a Worker, seeing the powder, could have suffered an emotional reaction from that event.  This would be covered under workers’ compensation.  In that circumstance, either a psychiatric injury or physiological response to stress, i.e. aggravation of hypertension, could have occurred.

If there were an un-stress related medical diagnoses, a nexus or connection would have to be made to the substance.  Thus, medical testing, i.e. blood or urine, would be important to prove the case.   Likewise, testing of the substance would be of import.

In the end, the medical injury will be determined by a medical evaluator. A treating physician, qualified medical examiner or agreed medical examiner will offer their opinions on industrial causation.

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.

2023 TOTAL TEMPORARY DISABILITY RATES ANNOUNCED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On 11/17/22, the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation announced the 2023 Total Disability Rates.
In the announcement, “The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) increased the rate for 2023 for total disability effective  on January 1, 2023. “The minimum TTD rate will increase from $230.95 to $242.86 and the maximum TTD rate will increase from $1,539.71 to $1,619.15 per week.”

If I Have An Earlier Injury, Why Is This Important?

Per Labor Code Section 4661.5, “notwithstanding any other provision of this division, when any temporary total disability indemnity payment is made two years or more from the date of injury, the amount of this payment shall be computed in accordance with the temporary disability indemnity average weekly earnings amount specified in Section 4453 in effect on the date each temporary total disability payment is made unless computing the payment on this basis produces a lower payment because of a reduction in the minimum average weekly earnings applicable under Section 4453.”

In sum, Injured Workers still entitled to TTD benefits past two years from the date of injury, starting on 1/1/23, may be entitled to a higher TTD rate. This applies to both high and low earners.

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.

 

 

 

DID FAST FOOD WORKER SUFFER A SAUCEY PSYCHE INJURY? INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #70

A Wendy’s Fast Food Worker reportedly had a bad drive thru incident.   A customer pulled a gun.  Apparently, there was a missing sauce packet!  It was reported that the man “was driving around the parking lot brandishing a gun and refusing to leave.” foxnews.com

There is no report of any physical injury.  Thus, we will discuss whether this fact pattern can give rise to a workers’ compensation claim.

Can This Fact Pattern Give Rise to A Work Injury?

In California, there is no need to have a physical altercation in order to have a work injury claim.  In this instance, there was an actual incident.  We have a customer acting in a hostile fashion.  He was reportedly brandishing a weapon and acting in a menacing fashion.   If the Worker experienced a physical reaction to this event, it would be considered as a work-related event.  In this matter, if the Worker had accidently not provided the customer the sauce packet, it would not be relevant.   Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system.  This event would not be considered as a “good faith personnel action.”  It was merely an exchange between an employee and a customer.

What Type of injury Can Be Claimed?  

In California, it is possible to have both physical and psychological injuries arise from such an incident.  Injuries, however, must be documented by medical specialists.  In this instance, there could be a physical injury, i.e. an aggravation of a blood pressure condition.   Likewise, a psychiatric disorder could be found as well, i.e. a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.   It should be emphasized that the incident alone does not make a claim. There must also be an injury.

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 SHOCKING ELECTION RELATED WORK INJURY: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS # 69

A sad story comes out of Houston, Texas.  During election season, a Parks and Recreation Department Worker suffered a work-related injury- electrocution-  and died.  Foxnews.com

News reports offer sparse information.   Thus, we will create a hypothetical and assume that the electronic voting system was the source of the electrocution.  The death, in an of itself, would likely trigger an OSHA investigation to determine the cause of the death.

Assuming the hypothetical fact pattern that the Parks Worker was working on election issues and that the voting machine caused their death, we will discuss the issues that would arise.

What Type of Claims Can Be Brought in This Circumstance?

Under California Law,  since the employee passed away, his or her dependents would be eligible to claim dependency death benefits.  Likewise,  they would be eligible to received up to $10,000.00 relating to burial expenses.  The dependency analysis involves marital status, the age and health of children, and the amount of support that the deceased provided to any claimed dependent.   Also, for spouses earning less than a certain amount and for minor children, there are presumptions that may be employed to claim dependency may be employed.

For the Purposes of Workers’ Compensation, Who Was The Deceased Worker’s Employer?

Elections can involve multiple government agencies.  Employees from one government agency could be placed on loan to others. Thus, a question can be raised as to “who was this person’s employer at the time of death? ”

Why Is The Employer Determination Important?

In this matter, the determination of the employer is important.  First, this knowledge will inform the dependents to place in a claim,  Likewise, the determination may establish the possibility of a third party case.   Hypothetically, if the electrocution occurred as a result of defective election equipment, it is possible that the owners of the equipment and the manufacturers of the equipment may have some liability.  Also, if the employee was considered to work for the City of Houston, they could potentially sue the County which was responsible for the running the election and for the election machines.

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.

AIRPORT EMPLOYEES EXPOSED TO CARBON DIOXIDE: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #68

It is reported that four workers at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, Oct. 31, were sickened when a fire-suppression system inside an electrical room went off, releasing carbon dioxide.” One worker was sent to the hospital in grave condition. The worker apparently went into cardiac arrest.

What Type of Injury Is This?

This type of injury is called an “exposure” case. Exposure cases can be extremely dangerous, even fatal.   Carbon Monoxide, the alleged chemical in this matter, is an invisible gas.  It can displace oxygen.   Workers can breath in the gas.  It is possible that gas exposure can cause suffocation.  In this instance, an alleged heart attack occurred.

How Is This Claim Assessed In Workers’ Compensation?

This claim is a complicated matter. In workers’ compensation, it would be viewed as an Internal Medicine type of injury.  Thus, initially, the specialty fields of cardiology and pulmonology would be involved.  Both heart and lung damage should be investigated.   Likewise, there may be other medical problems which should be addressed as well.  Per the Mayo Clinic, “Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death.”

Is There A Third Party Claim? 

Work Injuries do not preclude claims against third parties. Thus, it is important to understand who employees worked for.  Other parties may be responsible for the facility and for the system.  Based upon the facts, it is possible that there might be a third party claim against the  fire suppression system manufacturer.  Further, if those who maintained and operated the fire and suppression system may have some liability.

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.

9.3Edward Jay Singer
Edward Jay SingerReviewsout of 22 reviews