Did Amazon’s Conduct Constitute Serious and Willful Misconduct When Amazon Employee Died at Work? Injured Worker in the News #27

An Amazon Distribution Center collapsed and a delivery driver died.  Governmental Officials noted “[w]e are concerned by recent reports that Amazon may be putting the health and safety of its workers at risk, including by requiring them to work in dangerous conditions during tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather.” Foxnews.com

How does the Workers’ Compensation System address questionable conduct by Employers?

What Is a Serious and Willful Misconduct Claim?

In California, there is increased workers’ compensation benefits that can be awarded if an Employer engages in serious and willful misconduct.  This term is a legal term.  The Labor Code, in Section 4553, provides that “[t]he amount of compensation otherwise recoverable shall be increased one-half, together with costs and expenses not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250), where the employee is injured by reason of the serious and willful misconduct of any of the following:  (a) The employer, or his managing representative. (b) If the employer is a partnership, on the part of one of the partners or a managing representative or general superintendent thereof. (c) If the employer is a corporation, on the part of an executive, managing officer, or general superintendent thereof.

How Does One Prove It?

Claims of Serious and Willful Misconduct are highly factual.  These claims are either tried or settled.

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.

 

WAS AN AMAZON EMPLOYEE FATALITY AN INDUSTRIAL EVENT? INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #2

An Amazon Worker in New York City was fatally struck.  It was reported that they were hit by an unlicensed driver who was a co-worker.  At the time of the accident, the 24 year-old Amazon Worker was crossing a street at 11:30pm outside of the the Amazon Fulfillment Center.  The worker was brought to the hospital but did not survive. nypost.com 

Workers’ Compensation requires that an accident, to be compensable, be one that “arises out of and is in the course and scope of employment.”  Benefits will only be paid if it is legally recognized as industrial.  The tragic story from New York illustrates an instance where the injury is not disputed.  The Worker’s activity, at the time of the injury, however is questionable as to whether it should be considered as work-related.

Was This a Work-Related Event?

The answer is maybe. An in depth factual analysis is necessary.

Was the  Amazon Worker leaving work for the day?

Was the Amazon Worker going on break?

Was the Amazon Worker on the clock?

Where was the Amazon Worker going?

Was the street being crossed dangerous?

Was the street considered part of the facility?

For the purposes of this question, the following facts will be assumed:  the worker had finished work and was exiting to obtain transportation home.   With these facts, the one issue of import was the time of day she was crossing the street.  Likewise, the nature of the street is of import.

While “going and coming” from work can bar a workers’ compensation claim, there are exceptions to the rule.  one exception is the “zone of danger” or the “field of risk” rule.  thus,  if a worker’s travel puts them in a “zone of danger” or “field of risk” to get to or leave the employer’s facility, the claim may be considered as industrial.

In this matter, there may be compelling facts to find the injury industrial.  Crossing a street at a late hour when it was dark may provide solid evidence to lead a trier of fact to find that the “zone of danger” or “field of risk” exception applies.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

 

AMAZON, ROBOTS, AND WORK INJURIES: WHAT YOU NEED TO NOW

Technological improvement and cost-saving demands have now placed robotic employees in the workforce.  Amazon, and other companies, are employing robots that are essentially co-workers with humans.  Human employees have suffered work injuries as a result of these robot/human interactions.  These work injuries fall within workers’ compensation coverage and entitle the human workers to receive both medical treatment and compensation.

This article will discuss robots in the workplace, an article entitled “Primed For Pain,” and what an Injured Worker should do if they sustain an injury as a result of working with robotic co-workers.

What Types of Activities Do Robots Perform?

Robots in the Amazon Warehouses perform “the laborious task of stowing new merchandise on shelves and picking merchandise for assembling customer orders.” “Primed for Pain.”

Was There Injury Problems with Amazon Warehouses?

Yes.  “Amazon’s sortable facilities with robotic technology had a serious injury rate of 7.9 per 100 workers, more than 54 percent higher than the serious injury rate at non-robotic sortable facilities in the same year.” “Primed for Pain.”

In other words, the addition of the robots created hirer rates of injury.

What Types of Activities Do Robots Perform?

It is reported that the robots in the Amazon Warehouses perform “the laborious task of stowing new merchandise on shelves and picking merchandise for assembling customer orders.” “Primed For Pain.”

How Do Robot/Human Injuries Occur?

it was noted that a theory of injury involves the work pace.  The issue is that robots and humans work at different paces.  For example, humans, at the beginning of a shift may be physically stronger than at the end of a shift.  Robots, on the other hand, are able to work at the same pace during the work-shift.   Thus, the slowing down may be a source of injury.  “Primed for Pain.”

Further, as robots perform repetitive motions, human workers may be required to match the moves.  This may include performing repetitive activities that may be performed in a non-ergonomic fashion. Supra.

Are There Other Sources of Compensation For Robot-Related Injuries?

There is a possibility of pursuing a product’s liability case.  This would depend upon who manufactured the robots.  Additionally, if the robots are serviced by an outside provider, a possible negligence action may be a possibility.

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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