WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS, #11: WILL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DELIVER FOR THE UPS DRIVERS’ FAMILY?

A horrible accident occurred in San Diego, California.  A UPS Driver was killed when a twin engine aircraft crashed their vehicle.  It appears that a doctor, who owned the plane, may have been piloting the plane on a commute.

Is This a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Assuming that the UPS Driver was “on the clock” and on their route, this accident would be considered a workers’ compensation claim.   As the individual passed, this would be a death claim.

If the driver had dependents, i.e spouse or children, they would be able to receive death benefits.   The amount of death benefit depends on the nature of the dependency.  These factors include both factual and legal issues.  The death benefit amount can vary based upon the number of dependents, the characterization of the dependency, total or partial, and the age of a dependent.

In addition to the death benefit, burial expenses up to $10,000.00, are to be paid.

Is There Any Other Claim?

Yes. It appears that there may be a Third Party Liability Claim.  While an investigation may determine that there are multiple Third Parties, it would appear that the pilot, the doctor, and his estate, may be liable.   This lawsuit could be brought along with the Workers’ Compensation Claim.

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.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS #10, A FATAL TRAGEDY THAT OCCURRED IN DRAMATIC FASHION

A Bolshoi Theater had a tragedy occurred when an actor was crushed to death when a set backdrop fell upon him.   The actor was 37 years old.  It is reported that former Bolshoi performers condemned the working conditions.

According to the story, “Nikolai Tsiskardze, a former principal dancer at the theatre, told Russian newspaper Komsomolkaya Pravda following the incident that the company’s actors, dancers and workers suffer frequent injuries and near-misses as a result of the dangerous working conditions. ‘Backstage is hell,’ said Tsiskardze. ‘Dancers damage their legs when sets and staircases fall over. I have been screaming about the problems of the Bolshoi for 25 years. There is no order, no medicine, no ethics.’ Dailymail.com

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Deaths?

Yes.  Workers’ Compensation Law in California would consider this fatality to be a death claim.  In general, dependents of the actor would be able to make a claim for death benefits.   Dependency benefits are based upon whether the claimed dependent is either actually dependent or legally dependent upon the deceased.   Dependency is a matter that requires analysis and must address certain time periods.    Additionally, burial expenses up to $10,000.00, are to be provided.

Is There Any Other Claims?

Given the facts, and the work conditions, there were issues of dangerous work conditions.   There is the possibility of a serious and willful misconduct claim in the matter.  A CAL-OSHA investigation may reveal whether there were any safety violations.  This would be an issue worth investigating.  Also, if the Theatre was owned and operated by a Third Party, a civil suit might be indicated if there was negligence on their part.

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.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS #7:  WHEN LIFE SAVERS LOSE THEIR LIVES

A California Firefighter recently died when battling the State’s second largest wildfire, the Dixie Fire.

While the individual who died was not identified, it would appear that he worked for CALFIRE and was an Assistant Fire Engine Operator with the Lassen National Forest.   It was reported that he suffered from a previous illness. Foxnews.com

What Type of Claim Can Be Filed When A Worker Dies?

In the event of a death, the Injured Worker’s dependents may pursue death benefits.  Dependency can vary depending upon a variety of factors.   These factors include the amount of support provided, the dependent’s age and the dependent’s marital status.

If Someone Had a Pre-Existing Medical Condition and Dies On the Job, Would That Impact a Death Claim?

Possibly. If work had a causative role in the death, then death benefits would be indicated.  If work had absolutely no causative role, then a death claim may not be viable.  The causation decision is made per medical opinion and legal statutes.  For example, for certain firefighters, a heart presumption applies.  This presumption can impact the medical provider’s opinion on causation.

For Firefighters, Are There Special Benefits in the Event of Death Claims?

For certain Safety Members, there are special benefits that apply.  For certain dependents, they may be eligible for a special death benefits retirement through CALPERS. In that circumstance, a dependent will have to choose a special death benefit pension versus workers’ compensation death claim.   Other dependents may have to pursue death benefits via the workers’ compensation appeals board. See Jones v. CDCR Kern Valley State Prison, 2014 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 461

Are Burial Expenses Provided?

Yes. Workers’ compensation death cases provide for burial expenses.   The current amount of the expenses is $10,000.00.

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.

INJURED WORKERS, APPLICATIONS FOR ADJUDICATION OF CLAIM, AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In California, the Application for Adjudication of Claim is an important form for Injured Workers. Application form is used by Injured Workers to initiate a claim before the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB.)

The Application is the first step for an injured Worker to have their claim litigated before a neutral party which is the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. The WCAB provides  Judges who are capable of hearing disputes and rendering opinions, decisions, orders and awards.  Applications are important to file because WCAB cases have a statute of limitation with respect to the filing of cases.

This article will discuss the various Applications for Adjudication of Claim, and their purpose.

What is an Application for Adjudication of Claim Form?

The Application for Adjudication of Claim is a form which is currently used as the initiating document at  the WCAB.   An Application filed properly at the WCAB will be assigned a case number. These case numbers are commonly known as ADJ numbers.  In sum, the Application is the beginning for formal proceedings.

In essence, the Application document is similar to a Civil Court Complaint.

Is There are Charge for Filing an Application?

For injured Workers, there is no charge to file an Application.

Are There Different Types of Applications for Adjudication?

Yes. There are different Applications.   The most common Application is for injuries which do not involve the death of the injured worker.  The other Application is for death cases and it is to be used by the dependents of the deceased worker.

Do You Have to Be a Certain Age to File an Application?

Yes. You must be 18 years of age.  Thus, for underaged Injured Workers or Dependents, they must have a Guardian Ad Litem file the Application on their behalf.

Are Applications Difficult to Prepare? Can You Make Mistakes?

Applications are not difficult to prepare.   For Injured Workers without attorneys, they can fill the Application out the best was possible.   They should however, contact the Information and Assistance Officer to make sure that it will be filed properly and be assigned a case number.  Otherwise, Injured Workers can employ an attorney and they can file the Application on their behalf.

If mistakes are made on the initial Application filing or new information becomes available, an Application can be amended.

Is an Application Different from a Claim Form?

Yes. An Application is different than a Claim Form.  A Claim Form is the opening document for the claims administrator.   In other words, a claim form will initiate the insurance company to start investigating a claim of injury.  A claim form can trigger entitlement for the Injured Worker to collect benefits and receive medical treatment.   The claim form, however, is not the form used to initiate dispute resolution before the WCAB.

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 over 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

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