IWITN #45: A Tragic Shooting Death & Injury Of Subway Employees

It is reported that one Subway Sandwich Artist was tragically murdered and that another was shot at an Atlanta Subway Sandwich Store.   A customer,  upset over too much mayo being placed upon a sandwich,  reportedly became violent and fired shots.  The tragedy is made worse as the son of the deceased worker was present. Dailymail.com

The focus of this post will be with respect to the child who was present and their rights.  This will discuss the matter in light of California Law.

Can The Child File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes.  If the child’s mother was a worker and passed, it is likely that a dependency death claim can be pursued.   This would be based upon the child’s age and whether their mother provided support.

Are There Any Other Benefits That The Child Could Obtain?

Yes. In the State of California, there is a Victim’s Crime Board (CalVCB) that can provide assistance.  In order to qualify, a person “must be a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, the threat of physical injury or death to qualify for compensation. For certain crimes, emotional injury alone is all that needs to be sustained. Certain family members or other loved ones may also qualify.”  There are certain criteria that must be met as well.

One benefit that can be provided is mental health services.   CalVCB can provide assistance in getting “An eligible victim may receive up to three mental health counseling sessions. Providers are required to complete a treatment plan and submit it to CalVCB before the client’s fourth session to obtain additional sessions.

There may be other benefits available.  The Victim’s Crime Board website has the information.

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.

THE WORST WORK INJURY EVER? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #20

A Contract Worker was killed at a landfill in Florida in perhaps the most horrible way possible.

While he was using a Porta Potty, a bulldozer ran the portable bathroom and killed his co-worker.

The Bulldozer Operator and the Deceased Employee worked for the same company.   It is reported that the driver ‘… immediately exited the bulldozer and ran towards the porta potty to see if anyone was inside of it,’ the sheriff’s office spokesperson said. ‘At that time, he observed Henderson unresponsive inside the porta potty.’ dailymail.com

This tragic fact pattern will be discussed within California Law.  This fact pattern contains many issues as to whether a worker can sustain a work injury while using the facilities.  Further, is it possible for someone to be “at fault” and pursue a claim.

If A Worker Is On A Restroom Break, Are They Protected Under Workers’ Compensation?

California Workers’ Compensation Law provides for the “personal comfort doctrine.”  The “personal comfort doctrine” provides generally that compensation extends to injuries suffered while the employee is engaged briefly and during work hours in a personal act which is necessary or helpful to his comfort or convenience. (2 Hanna, op. cit., supra, § 9.03[2][a], pp. 9–3—9–31.) The personal comfort doctrine is not strictly limited to injuries suffered on the employer’s premises. ( Cf. State Comp. Ins. Fund v. Workmen’s Comp. App. Bd. (Cardoza) (1967) 67 Cal. 2d 925 [32 Cal. Comp. Cases 525, 64 Cal. Rptr. 323, 434 P.2d 619] Fremont Indemnity Co. v. Workers Comp. Appeals Bd. (1977) 69 Cal. App. 3d 170 [42 Cal. Comp. Cases 297, 137 Cal. Rptr. 847].) [**8]  Its limit is reached when the acts “are found to be departures effecting a temporary abandonment of employment. …” ( Id., at p. 928.) Olson Farms, Inc. v. Workers Compensation Appeals Bd. of California & Suzanne Shawnego, 51 Cal. Comp. Cases 107 (Cal. App. 3d Dist. March 05, 1986)

Thus, the Contract Worker would be covered when he used the restroom since he was engaged in a personal act which was for his comfort.  His family would be able to pursue a Death Benefit Dependency Claim.

What About The Bulldozer Operator Who Cause the Accident, Does He Have A Claim?

With this fact pattern and given the “no fault” nature of workers’ compensation, the Bulldozer Operator, if he sustained an emotional injury as a result of killing his co-worker, could file a claim.  It would appear that the incident may have psychiatrically traumatizing,

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 SALINAS POLICE DEPARTMENT TRAGEDY:  INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS #18

The Salinas Police Department’s 80 year Safety Record  was broken.  Police Officer Jorge David Alvarado, while making a traffic stop, was killed.  The initial news accounts provided no family information.

This article will discuss the workers’ compensation issues that arise in this circumstance.

Workers’ Compensation provides for death benefits.  First, workers’ compensation law in California will provide for burial expenses. Officer Alvarado will be afforded burial expenses up to the amount of  $10,000.00.  Second, the workers’ compensation system law also provides dependency benefits. These types of benefits may apply to family members and others.

What Will Happen In This Circumstance Given the Known Facts?  

In this circumstance, the department’s workers’ compensation administrator will make some inquiry as to investigate whether there are dependents.  Dependents do not have to be relatives.  Generally, however, dependents tend to be spouses, children and grandchildren.

What Is a Dependent for Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation Dependents can be any person for which the Officer provided support.  In addition, there are individuals are legally entitled to support.  For example, an ex-spouse with an a support order and minor children fall into this category.  A child under 18 years of age is considered as a dependent even though there wasn’t a court order of support.

Dependency is a matter of which is subject to the trier of fact. This means a judge will make a decision concerning it.  ” Partial dependency “shall be determined in accordance with the facts as they exist at the time of the injury of the employee. ” (§ 3502, emphasis added.) The true test of dependency in fact is not whether the dependent was compelled to rely upon the deceased employee’s contributions for  the bare necessities of life, but whether the dependent relied on the contributions for support according to his or her accustomed mode of living. Wings West Airlines v. Workers Compensation Appeals Bd. of California & Dir. of Indus. Rels., 51 Cal. Comp. Cases 609 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. December 11, 1986)

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 TACO BELL WORK INJURY TRAGEDY: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS, #9

A Los Angeles Taco Bell Worker, and Father of 3, was tragically murdered while working.  He was shot dead after an argument with a customer over a fake $20.00 bill. The shot was fired from the customer drive-thru.  The Father worked there one day a week to make extra money for his family.  His son also was working in the restaurant when the shooting happened.  Foxnews.com, Dailymail.com

In this matter, there are multiple injury claims; a death claim concerning the Father, and  possible stress claims for each and every store worker who was present at the time of the shooting.  The employees include one of the Father’s son.

Are There Any Issues Concerning the Death Claim?

Yes. There are multiple issues concerning the Father’s death.   First, there would be a death claim which can be filed for all of his dependents.  He has three children and he may have a spouse.  Thus, there are multiple individuals who can seek death benefits.  Further, there would be burial expenses that would be available.  Second, there is an issue of his earnings.  From the story, he worked one day a week at Taco Bell.   It is possible that he had other employment.   If so, his rate of pay would be an issue as well.

In sum, while this tragic death is an undisputed work injury claim, there are complicated issues concerning who are the dependents and the compensation rate.

Are There Any Issues Concerning the Co-Workers?

Yes. If the co-workers sustained a mental health injury as a result of the incident, they would be able to pursue a claim.  The Son would be able to pursue both an injury claim for himself as well as a dependency claim relating to his Father’s passing.   His dependency, however, would be subject to an analysis based upon his age and the nature and extent of his dependency.

Are There Any Other Issues?

The family may seek benefits through the California Victim Compensation Board.

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.

Image Credit to: danielfela

SECURITY GUARD TRAGICALLY MURDERED IN OAKLAND: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #3:

A brazen attempted robbery of news camera equipment led to a Security Guard’s murder.  While working for Star Protective Agency, the Guard was assigned to an on location KRON news team. While doing so, he was shot in the abdomen and died.  It is reported that he was married, has two children, and has three grandchildren.

This industrial death has issues concerning  (a) who is entitled to and (b) the nature and extent of workers’ compensation dependency benefit.

Which Company is Responsible for The Security Guard’s Workers Compensation Claim?

Workers’ Compensation claims are to be filed against one’s employer.  Often, employees, while working for one company, are performing services at another.   In this instance, while the Security Guard was working with the KRON news team, his actual employer was the Star Protective Agency. The claim will be filed against Star.

What Type of Workers’ Compensation Claim is To Be Filed?

Besides the injury claim, a Death Dependency Claim is indicated.   According to the reports, the Security Guard had a wife, children and grandchildren. Thus, prior to his demise, he may have financially supported a number of people.  Therefore, a factual analysis is necessary to determine the nature and extent of each dependency.

Are There Different Types of Dependents?

Yes.  In California Workers’ Compensation Law, there are two types of dependents: total and partial.  Total dependents are entitled a greater amount compensation than partial dependents.

What Is the Difference Between a Total and Partial Dependent?

The difference between total and partial dependents is the nature of the support that they received from the deceased worker.  Beyond the actual support, legal presumptions can provide the assignment of total dependency.  Spouses with certain levels of earnings as well as children under the age of 18 are afforded total dependency.

Other claimed individuals are required to prove their dependency by showing the support they received from the deceased.   Likewise, a claimed dependent’s income will be considered in the calculation.  For example, a child living free at home may also have a job.

What Is to Be Learned From This Tragic Story?

A simple undisputed work injury can lead to a complex analysis in order to pay out compensation.

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.

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