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.

Southwest Airlines Attendant Sustains Dental Trauma As A Result of Unruly Passenger: Injured Worker In the News, #39

It is reported that an Unruly Passenger was sentenced concerning to jail time as a result of  an attack of a Soutwest Airline Flight Attendant. The Attendant reportedly received a blow to her face and had some teeth broken. The plea agreement noted that the Flight Attendant suffered three chipped teeth, two of which needed crowns, along with bruises and a cut under her left eye. Dailymail.com  

From the facts, the Attendant could sue the Passenger civilly for the tort action of battery.  Additionally, the Southwest Airlines’ Worker has a workers’ compensation claim.  This article will discuss where the Injured Worker  can pursue a workers’ compensation claim as well as the benefits that would be received.

Where Can The Flight Attendant File Their Claim? 

Yes. The Flight Attendant has multiple locations at which they may file their claim.  For a Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board filing, the venue can be determined by the Worker’s address, the Employer’s address or the location of the injury.  Applicant’s attorney’s address can also serve as venue. Since, this accident occurred midair, the location where injury happened is tricky. As such, the Employee’s residence is likely a better choice of venue.  As the flight was from San Diego to Sacramento, it is likely that the San Diego WCAB would likely be the venue for the Employee’s address.  Likewise, if Southwest Airlines had a terminal at the San Diego Airport,  the San Diego Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board would most likely be an appropriate venue as well.

What Work-Related Injuries Can the Flight Attendant Claim?

For the purposes of this answer, we will limit the body parts as reported on the plea agreement.  Thus, the Attendant sustained dental injuries as well as a facial/cosmetic injury.

The Injured Worker would have been entitled to dental care to cure or relieve from the effects of the injury as well as permanent disability, if indicated.  Likewise, future medical care would be likely should the dental work need repair.

The cut under the left eye may also require cosmetic repair.  Thus, medical treatment  Also, the cut may have caused permanent cosmetic injury.  This may entitle an award of permanent disability depending upon the nature and extent of the defect.

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.

BURGER INSANITY: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS #17

It is reported that a Fast-Food Worker was assaulted and shot in the face by twin sisters. This assault was apparently triggered over a dispute over a $3.00 hamburger that was missing from an order.  According to the police, the sisters “proceeded to attack (Mr.)Rodriguez and one of them shot him in the face while he was down.” dailymail.com 

Videotape showed that the worker was punched in the face, wrestled to the group and shot in the face.  The injury was described as “'[t]he bullet went through [his] upper lip and took out [his] upper teeth and cracked [his] bottom teeth, so those will have to be replaced,’ Rodriguez said.  He also had to use a neck brace to stabilize a part of his spine which was fractured by the bullet. “ dailymail.com

Can Dental Problems Be Work-Related?

In California, dental injuries are included in workers’ compensation.  Therefore, dental care is also included within medical care.  So, if the Injured Worker needed to have teeth replaced, it will be done.  Likewise, the medical care includes future medical care.  So, if any dental repair needs to be done to the repaired teeth, the additional dental care will be provided.

What Type of Workers’ Compensation Injuries May Be Claimed Given These Facts?

From the facts, it would appear that the Injured Worker may have sustained dental injuries, orthopedic injures, possible cosmetic injuries,  a head injury and a psychiatric injury.  Reporting of medical professionals are necessary to determine the nature and extent of the Injured Worker’s problems.

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.

 

OCCUPATIONAL PNEUMONITIS AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

There are a variety of lung diseases that may have occupational components.   One of these lung diseases is Pneumonitis.  If a Worker succumbs to Pneumonitis, and there is an occupational component as to its cause, they would be able to file and pursue a workers’ compensation claim to obtain medical treatment and monetary benefits for their lung condition.

This article will discuss Pneumonitis, how it can be work-related, and a discussion of various caselaw that addressed issues relating to the disease.

What Pneumonitis? Is It the Same as Pneumonia?

Pneumonitis is a medical condition which involves the inflammation of lung tissue.

The medical disease Pneumonia is essentially a subset of Pneumonitis.  It is an inflammation of the lungs caused by an infection.

What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonitis?

Symptoms of Pneumonitis can include difficulty breathing and a dry, nonproductive, cough. If the condition progresses to Chronic Pneumonitis, symptoms can also include fatigue, loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss. Mayo Clinic.

Are There Degrees of Pneumonitis?

Yes. There are varying degrees of Pneumonitis.  The degrees are Acute, Subacute and Chronic.

Pneumonitis is very serious.  If it goes unnoticed or untreated can cause irreversible lung damage.

What Tests and Treatments are there for Pneumonitis?

Pneumonitis is a complex medical condition. Therefore, a thorough evaluation by a specialist is recommended.  This specialist will conduct the physical examination and order testing.

The testing with respect to Pneumonitis can include blood tests, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), chest x-rays, computed tomography (CT), inhalation challenge tests lung biopsies, lung function tests, and precipitin tests.  Mayo Clinic.

How Is Pneumonitis Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of the condition can be complicated. It can take a long time to diagnose. In writing this blog, this matter must be deferred to a specialist without further comment.

The diagnosis of HP in general remains often challenging as there is no gold standard test and the diagnosis is made from a combination of procedures. In addition, the diagnosis of OHP requires ascertaining the work relatedness of the disease with a high level of confidence. A multidisciplinary approach, including clinicians, radiologists, pathologists, and occupational physicians/hygienists, is strongly recommended to improve the diagnosis of OHP, as demonstrated for IPF  Quirce S, Vandenplas O, Campo P, Cruz MJ, de Blay F, Koschel D, Moscato G, Pala G, Raulf M, Sastre J, Siracusa A, Tarlo SM, Walusiak-Skorupa J, Cormier Y. Occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis: an EAACI position paper. Allergy. 2016 Jun;71(6):765-79. doi: 10.1111/all.12866. Epub 2016 Mar 11. PMID: 26913451.

What is Occupational Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (OHP)?

“Based on the key features of the disease that were outlined by previous authors 411 and the EAACI nomenclature for allergic diseases 12, the following consensus definition is proposed: ‘OHP is an immunologic lung disease with variable clinical presentation and outcome resulting from lymphocytic and frequently granulomatous inflammation of the peripheral airways, alveoli, and surrounding interstitial tissue which develops as the result of a non‐IgE‐mediated allergic reaction to a variety of organic or low molecular weight agents that are present in the work environment’. Quirce S, Vandenplas O, Campo P, Cruz MJ, de Blay F, Koschel D, Moscato G, Pala G, Raulf M, Sastre J, Siracusa A, Tarlo SM, Walusiak-Skorupa J, Cormier Y. Occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis: an EAACI position paper. Allergy. 2016 Jun;71(6):765-79. doi: 10.1111/all.12866. Epub 2016 Mar 11. PMID: 26913451.

What Is the Treatment for the Condition?

Treatment for some medical conditions is not just medical care.

In the case of Pneumonitis, one of the forms of treatment is avoidance of harmful exposure.   This can include the removal of causative substances, the replacement of products that have the causative substances, changes in work that will avoid exposures to the causative substances, and avoidance in general of known sources of the causative substances.

Treatments can include corticosteroids or other immunosuppressants. Treatment can include oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, opioids, and lung transplants.  Mayo Clinic.

In viewing the range and scope of treatments, it is fair to say that Pneumonitis should be viewed as a serious medical condition.

What Are the Causes of Pneumonitis? What Are Occupational Causes of Pneumonitis?

Common causes of pneumonitis include airborne irritants at your job or from your hobbies. In addition, some types of cancer treatments and dozens of drugs can cause pneumonitis.

With respect to work-related exposure, “A large number of occupational agents/antigens have been described as potential causative agents of HP in a wide variety of occupations. These offending agents can be classified into six broad categories that include bacteria, fungi, animal (glyco) proteins, plant (glyco) proteins, low molecular weight chemicals, and metals (Table 2). Using a quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) model, it was found that chemicals causing OHP tend to have a higher predicted asthma hazard, are more lipophilic, and are more likely to be protein cross‐linkers than those causing occupational asthma .” Quirce S, Vandenplas O, Campo P, Cruz MJ, de Blay F, Koschel D, Moscato G, Pala G, Raulf M, Sastre J, Siracusa A, Tarlo SM, Walusiak-Skorupa J, Cormier Y. Occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis: an EAACI position paper. Allergy. 2016 Jun;71(6):765-79. doi: 10.1111/all.12866. Epub 2016 Mar 11. PMID: 26913451.

What Types of Occupations That Are At Risk of Pneumonitis?

The following are occupations that may be at risk for the disease: aircraft industry, animal feeding, bagasse workers [slaughterhouse], bird breeders, ceramic workers, cheese workers, chemical and polyurethane industry, compost workers, cork workers, cosmetic industry, dental technicians,  farmers, florists, food processors, hard metal workers, humidifiers, laboratory workers, maple bark strippers, malt workers, mushroom workers, painters, paprika slicers, pearl industry, peat moss processors, pharmaceutical industry, plastic industry, plastic workers, potato riddlers, seaweed workers, smelters, stucco workers, textile workers, tobacco growers, wine makers, wood workers, and yacht manufacturing. Quirce S, Vandenplas O, Campo P, Cruz MJ, de Blay F, Koschel D, Moscato G, Pala G, Raulf M, Sastre J, Siracusa A, Tarlo SM, Walusiak-Skorupa J, Cormier Y. Occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis: an EAACI position paper. Allergy. 2016 Jun;71(6):765-79. doi: 10.1111/all.12866. Epub 2016 Mar 11. PMID: 26913451.

Is There An Alternative Theory of Industrial Causation for Pneumonitis?

Yes.  Radiation treatment has been considered as a source of this disease.

Treatment for an industrial injury can give rise to a work injury claim.   Thus, if there is a work-related medical condition that involves radiation treatment, they may possibly be able to pursue a claim.   This may be the case with cancers such as lung or breast.

Is There Any Caselaw Concerning Pneumonitis?

Yes.  There have been a variety of cases with respect to the disease.

The pneumonia presumption for safety and law enforcement officers was found to not apply in the case of pneumonitis.  As noted above, pneumonia is a subset of the disease.

Pneumonitis was found work-related for a meat cutter.  The WCAB panel determined that the applicant developed compensable hypersensitivity pneumonitis while working as a meat cutter. See Costco Wholesale Corp vs. WCAB (2010) 75 C.C.C. 1187 (writ denied.)

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.

 

DENTAL HYGIENISTS, MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS, AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AT RISK OF INDUSTRIAL ORTHOPEDIC INJURIES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Many occupations are susceptible to work injuries.  One of these occupations is that of a Dental Hygienist.  More specifically, Dental Hygienists are at risk for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs.)  This has been recognized by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH.)

This article will discuss the occupation of Dental Hygienist, how Dental Hygienists are at risk for musculoskeletal disorders, and caselaw of interest.

What is a Dental Hygienist?

Per the American Dental Association(ADA), a Dental Hygienist is a licensed position which varies from state to state.  Note: The practice of dental hygiene in California is regulated by the Dental Hygiene Board of California.

The tasks of Dental Hygienists can include “patient screening procedures; such as assessment of oral health conditions, review of the health history, oral cancer screening, head and neck inspection, dental charting and taking blood pressure and pulse, taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays), removing calculus and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from all surfaces of the teeth, applying preventive materials to the teeth (e.g., sealants and fluorides), teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health; (e.g., tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling), counseling patients about good nutrition and its impact on oral health, making impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth used by dentists to evaluate patient treatment needs,)[and] performing documentation and office management activities.”

Dental Hygienists can work in a variety of locations.   This locations include Dental Offices.  This can include Dental Offices of General Practitioners as well a Specialty Practitioners’ Offices such as Periodontics and Pediatric Dentistry.

Dental Hygienists also may work at Public Health Agencies, Hospitals and Community Health Clinics. They can work for public school systems, dental schools and dental hygiene educational programs.  Dental hygiene services can be performed in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and public health clinics.

Note: Activities of interest involve the activities in which the patient is in the dental chair and the Dental Hygienist is performing services upon them.

What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)?

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs.

What Types of Musculoskeletal Injuries Do Dental Hygienists Sustain?

Dental Hygienists are susceptible to a multitude of musculoskeletal disorders.  Upper Extremity problems are common.  These upper extremity diseases or conditions include tendonitis, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Has There Been Any Caselaw Concerning Dental Hygienists with Cumulative Trauma Musculoskeletal Injuries?

Yes. In Barnes vs. WCAB (2013) 78 C.C.C. 1137 (writ denied), the case involved a Dental Hygienist who suffered a cumulative trauma musculoskeletal injury to her neck and back.  In the matter, there was a dispute as to whether there was also an aggravation of an underlying fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  In the case, there was a finding of industrial causation for those body parts.

Are Musculoskeletal Disorders for Dental Hygienists a Concern for the State of California?

Yes.  The State of California is concerned over the risk of injury for Dental Hygienists. The State recommends ergonomics programs in order to promoted a safe and efficient workplace.

What Are Ergonomics?

Per OSHA,  “ [w]orkers in many different industries and occupations can be exposed to risk factors at work, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively. Exposure to these known risk factors for MSDs increases a worker’s risk of injury.

Work-related MSDs can be prevented. Ergonomics — fitting a job to a person — helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs.”.

Are There Ergonomic Tools for Dental Hygienists?

Yes. The State of California offer videos designed for Dental Hygienists.  Here is the link. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/Pages/ErgonomicsDentalHygiene.aspx

There are videos which include topics such posturing and position, use and choice of instruments and body strengthening.

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