DID FAST FOOD WORKER SUFFER A SAUCEY PSYCHE INJURY? INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #70

A Wendy’s Fast Food Worker reportedly had a bad drive thru incident.   A customer pulled a gun.  Apparently, there was a missing sauce packet!  It was reported that the man “was driving around the parking lot brandishing a gun and refusing to leave.” foxnews.com

There is no report of any physical injury.  Thus, we will discuss whether this fact pattern can give rise to a workers’ compensation claim.

Can This Fact Pattern Give Rise to A Work Injury?

In California, there is no need to have a physical altercation in order to have a work injury claim.  In this instance, there was an actual incident.  We have a customer acting in a hostile fashion.  He was reportedly brandishing a weapon and acting in a menacing fashion.   If the Worker experienced a physical reaction to this event, it would be considered as a work-related event.  In this matter, if the Worker had accidently not provided the customer the sauce packet, it would not be relevant.   Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system.  This event would not be considered as a “good faith personnel action.”  It was merely an exchange between an employee and a customer.

What Type of injury Can Be Claimed?  

In California, it is possible to have both physical and psychological injuries arise from such an incident.  Injuries, however, must be documented by medical specialists.  In this instance, there could be a physical injury, i.e. an aggravation of a blood pressure condition.   Likewise, a psychiatric disorder could be found as well, i.e. a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.   It should be emphasized that the incident alone does not make a claim. There must also be an injury.

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 KING MELEE LEAVES YOUTHFUL FAST FOOD WORKERS INJURED:  INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #62

Fast Food Workers at a Burger King encountered a true “burger insanity” moment.

According to the reports, “[i]t started with an unruly customer and spilled pop. By the time it was over, a 17-year-old worker had to get stitches for a cut to the forehead and a 15-year-old, working her first job, suffered a busted jaw and broken teeth.” www.woodtv.com

It was reported that the unruly drive-thru customer came into the store and started to make a disturbance.  Apparently, the staff tried to get the customer out of the store and lock the door. A scuffle occurred.   The 15 year old worker said that “[w]hen I got up, all I heard was ringing. I was crying. I couldn’t open my jaw. As soon as I opened up, all you seen is blood coming down,” the 15-year-old, who asked not to be identified, said. “I barely remember what happened. After the surgery, it was just too much.” www.woodtv.com  The worker reported that  “I have screws right here, right here and under here,” she showed News 8 Wednesday, pointing to her still-swollen jaw. “Right here, it’s all numb. The doctor says that might never go away. www.woodtv.com  “I have like five teeth cracked and he knocked out one in the back,” she continued. “I’m on a full liquid diet for six weeks straight. No solid food. I can barely open my mouth.”  www.woodtv.com

Also, for one of the workers, it  was her first day on the job.

This article will address many issues concerning young workers and a multi-faceted injury.

Why Was This a Mult-Faceted Work Injury?

Given the facts, it appears that the blows to the face caused a number of injuries.  The injuries could include head trauma, dental trauma, cosmetic trauma, and psychiatric trauma. As such, its is important for these workers to see a variety of specialists to obtain a proper work up.

The Fact that A Worker Had Only Worked One Day,  Is That Important?

In Workers’ Compensation, Permanent Disability and Temporary Disability payments are made based upon the Worker’s Average Weekly Wage.   In this instance, assuming this was the young worker’s first day of ever working anywhere. Also, assuming that the the worker had a future schedule of  part-time hours,  there are many ways of figuring out what should be the proper wage.  If a wage cannot be figured out and the earnings were not much, workers’ compensation law has a minimum rate which is paid to the worker.

Below is an article about the calculation of the wages.

How Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Calculated

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.

DID BURRITO MADNESS INJURE CHIPOTLE WORKERS? INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #61

Chipotle Employees are complaining.  A $3 burrito hack was driving them mad.  It was reported that employees may have been getting frustrated over a company customization plan. A customer and possible magician figured out how to turn a taco into a burrito.  This was perhaps done at the expense of the workers’ sanity.  In a Chipotle statement from CAO Laurie Schalow,  it was noted that “[w]hile we have long embraced customizations and even released our own hack menu, the current social media trend is resulting in a poor experience for our food, our employees and our customers waiting for orders,” Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow told the outlet in a statement. nypost.com

Reading between the lines, it would appear that Chipotle Workers may have been experiencing stress.  If this stress gave rise to an emotional injury, would it be a work injury?

Can A Company Policy Give Rise to A Work-Related Stress Injury?

Yes.  A company policy, if it causes an emotional injury, can be a valid workers’ compensation claim.  The key issue would be whether the policy would be considered a non-discriminatory good faith personnel action.

California Law has Labor Code Section 3208.3.  It provides under section (b) (1) that “In order to establish that a psychiatric injury is compensable, an employee shall demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that actual events of employment were predominant as to all causes combined of the psychiatric injury.”   The personnel action defense is per section (h)  that “[n]o compensation under this division shall be paid by an employer for a psychiatric injury if the injury was substantially caused by a lawful, nondiscriminatory, good faith personnel action. The burden of proof shall rest with the party asserting the issue.”

In this instance, the policy was no disciplinary toward employees. Rather, it was a policy that apparently created an annoyance.

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.

 

 

MCDONALD’S WORKER PEPPERED IN POSSIBLE ROBBERY ATTEMPT: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #51

A McDonald’s Worker was pepper sprayed in what was believed to be an attempted robbery.   The employee’s injuries were reported to be minor. They were not taken to the hospital.  nypost.com

This article will discuss the issues with respect to this incident.

If the Worker Wanted to Pursue a Claim of Emotional Injury, Does the Fact It Appeared to Be Attempted Robbery Matter?

No.  From the facts, there were actual events of employment that occurred, the worker being pepper sprayed.  Thus, there would be a basis for the Injured Worker to pursue a psychiatric claim if they wished to pursue such a case. The fact that a robbery was suspected would not matter.

At the Time of the Incident, Is There Anything the Injured Worker Should Do?

In this matter, while the injuries were minor, it would be advisable that the Injured Worker to attend at least one medical evaluation to be treated and to document their complaints. Additionally, the evaluation should be a physical examination so that blood pressure readings and other physical findings can be documented.  Failure to document complaints can cast doubt as to disability if later claimed.

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.

 

 

workers compensation

WAS A MCDONALD’S WORKER BEING SHOT IN THE FACE A WORK INJURY? INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS, #50

In Brooklyn, a McDonald’s Worker was shot in the face. After the incident, the worker was reportedly in critical care as a result of the incident.

The facts of the case are that there was this Worker was in a dispute with a customer inside the restaurant.  After the incident, the Worker, for reasons not clear, went outside of the store.  There, the dispute continued.  It is reported that the customer’s son shot the McDonald’s Worker in the face. Nypost.com

UPDATE: Since this post, there is additional information from a Nypost.com article.  It appears that there was an initial dispute concerning cold fries.  The customer’s son and the McDonald’s Worker exchanged words in the store and there was a conversation apparently about taking the matter outside.  It is reported that the Worker may have gone outside to search for the customer’s son and an incident occurred.

This case will be discussed along the lines of California Law with respect to the issues.

Was This an Industrial Injury for the Purposes of Workers’ Compensation?

While a case may look like it is work-related, in order to get workers’ compensation benefits, an injury must arise out of and be in the course and scope of employment.  This requires some analysis.

In this particular case, there are questions that need to be answered.  Two matters of important is whether the Worker was the Initial physical aggressor and whether the Applicant deviated from employment.

Given this fact pattern, the reason why the McDonald’s Worker left the store is important. Did the Worker want to get in a fight with the customer? Did the worker initiate physical contact?

The other aspect to consider is whether there was a deviation.  Did the employee’s actions remove him from being considered to be in the workplace? With this analysis, the location of the outside incident is of importance. Was it on the McDonald’s premises or off? Was it a mile away from the store?   Further, was he on a break, or was he working on the clock when he went outside?

Can A Claim Like This Be Delayed?

Yes. Labor Code Section 5402(b) affords an insurance company 90 days to investigate.  In this matter, given the analysis provided above, an insurance company should send an investigator out to obtain witness statements, obtain the video from the store if any, and obtain a copy of the police report.  My personal impression is that the additional facts would likely support a finding of industrial injury.  Without knowing more, I would think that the incident happened while on premises.  The fact that the incident was on the premises would play a large factor in the analysis. [update: If the worker left the work site to have a confrontation, more facts are needed concerning what happened.  The location of the confrontation and its nature are important.   Further, the reason for the confrontation is important as well.

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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