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TEACHER THROWN AGAINST WALL: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #118

WAS A HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COACHES’ PARKING LOT INJURY WORK-RELATED? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #105

According to a Foxnews.com report, a High School Basketball Coach was assaulted in a parking lot and sustained injury to his head, neck, face and arms.   The conflict apparently was as a result of the Coach benching a player.  After the game, it is alleged that the player, along with his brother, committed the violent act.

This article will discuss, under California Workers’ Compensation Law, whether the injury would be considered work-related?

Can An Injury in a Parking Lot Be Work-Related?

California Workers’ Compensation Law has established caselaw to address employer parking lots. “On the basis of this rule it has been consistently held that the protection of the compensation law extends to injuries sustained by an employee in a parking area maintained by the employer for the use of employees, the theory being that a contract of employment which contemplates parking by employees on the premises must necessarily contemplate their entry and departure via the parking area and a reasonable interval of time and space for doing so.” (North American Rockwell Corp. v. Workmen’s Comp. App. Bd. [(1970)] 9 Cal. App. 3d 154, 157 [35 Cal. Comp. Cases 300, 87 Cal.  Rptr. 774] see Cal. Cas. Ind. Exch. v. Ind. Acc. Com., supra, 21 Cal. 2d 751, 754 Pacific Indem. Co. v. Industrial Acc. Com. [(1946)] 28 Cal. 2d 329, 336 [11 Cal. Comp. Cases 148, 170 P.2d 18]  [**5] Van Cleve v. Workmen’s Comp. App. Bd. [(1968)] 261 Cal. App. 2d 228 [33 Cal. Comp. Cases 219, 67 Cal. Rptr. 757].)”

In the present matter, while one can argue about whether the assault was a continuation of work activities, this dispute is not necessary to determine work-relatedness. The fact that the beating took place in the parking lot is sufficient to make it a work-related event.  As long as the Coach was not the initial physical aggressor, the injury should be considered as work related for the purposes of providing workers’ compensation benefits.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you want a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please get in touch with 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 30 years. Contact us today for more information.

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Fentanyl and Methamphetamine Overdose Claims Life of Washington Police Officer: Injured Workers in the News, #98

While working, a Police Officer- while at his precinct- collapsed and died from fentanyl and meth poisoning.  In the news reports, it is reported that the incident may not have been by accident.  According to the Dailymail, “Police in Vancouver, Washington, investigated Kelly’s death and concluded that it was ‘more likely than not caused by an intentional act and not an incidental workplace exposure,’”

This article will discuss the issue within the framework of California Workers’ Compensation Law with respect to this workplace death  and whether it was work-related.

If Someone Dies At the Workplace, Is It Automatically Considered As A Work-Related Death?

No.  Injuries in the workplace must be AOE/COE- arising out of employment and in the course and scope of employment.  While a death may occur during the course and scope of employment, i.e. while at the place of employment, there may be uncertainty as to whether it was caused by work.  In this instance, illicit drug use has been implicated as to the cause of death.

What Is The Standard For Proving a Death Is Work-Related?

The Cailfornia Supreme Court in  South Coast Framing, Inc. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2015) 61 Cal.4th 291 [188 Cal.Rptr.3d 46, 349 P.3d 141], noted that “[w]e have recognized the contributing cause standard …Under this test, if the injury can be seen to have followed as a natural incident of the work and to have been contemplated by a reasonable person familiar with the whole situation as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment, then it arises “out of” the employment. But it excludes an injury which cannot fairly be traced to the employment as a contributing proximate cause and which comes from a hazard to which the workman would be equally exposed apart from the employment.’””

In the instant matter, it is possible that an industrial contributing cause could be found.  It is possible that, as a law enforcement officer, there may be presumptions that could apply and assist in proving an industrial injury.   Thus,  this fact pattern is worthy of exploring  whether there was a valid industrial death claim.  Thus,  despite the allegation of illicit drug use and a statement from the department concerning it, there still may be a way of proving it as work-related.  For instance, the officer may have been suffering from an industrial orthopedic injury and decided to self-medicate by using an illegal drug.

What If I Need Legal 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 30 years. Contact us today for more information.

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Teacher Injured By Student Compensation: Injured Workers in the News #78

In a highly publicized matter, a Teacher was reportedly battered as a result of taking away a video game from a child.  According to the news account, the video showed the student charging towards the teacher and knocking her onto the ground.  He stomped, kicked and punched her numerous times.  As a result of the injuries, she lost her consciousness.

This matter will be discussed on a variety of issues.

If the Teacher Wrongly Took Away The Game From the Child, Would She Be Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

No.  From the facts known, the Teacher did not act as the initial aggressor in the incident.   This is supported by the fact that Police have arrested the Student and he is being charged with a crime.  Also, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system.  A mistake in taking away an item from a student causing an incident would not impact the eligibility for workers’ compensation.

If The Teacher Cannot Return to Teaching, Is Workers’ Compensation Her Only Means of Recovery?

In California, there is the State Teachers Retirement System which is known as CALSTRS.  Assuming the Teacher works at a public school, she is entitled to pursue a disability retirement.

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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Tesla Crashes Into Fire Truck: Injured Workers in the News, #77

In California, a Tesla Driver died when his car slammed into a Fire Truck.  It is reported that several of the firefighters at the scene were slightly injured. The cause of the accident is being investigated.  Intoxication or possibly the Tesla’s Autopilot may be the cause. dailymail.com

If The Tesla Driver Was At Fault, Can The Firefighters Pursue Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Yes. The Firefighters were injured in a circumstance that arose out of employment and was in the course and scope of employment.  Thus, they satisfy the AOE/COE requirement to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

If The Firefighters Were Injured In the Same Accident, Will They All Get the Same Compensation?

No. Each workers’ compensation case is based upon the individual and the nature and extent of their personal medical conditions.  Likewise, there compensation is also impacted by their wage, their age and their occupation.  It is quite possible that two of these firefighters could have sustained identical injuries but receive different amounts of compensation.  For example, a very young worker could receive less than a much older worker.

Do The Firefighters Have Another Lawsuit to Pursue?

Possibly.  It appears that either the Tesla Driver or the Tesla Vehicle may be responsible for the accident.  A thorough investigation is necessary to determine who, if any, was negligent.  The reporting to date provides no indication.

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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