WAS A UNITED AIRLINES WORKER BRAWL WITH A PASSENGER A WORK-RELATED INJURY? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #38

A viral video shows a United Airlines Luggage Check-In Worker engaged in a fist fight with a customer.  The video shows the UA Worker punching the customer.  The video then shows the customer beating up the worker.  Dailymail.com

For the purpose of this post, we will take the video as the totality of the interaction. Thus, we will analyze whether the UA Worker can claim a work injury for the blows that he sustained. Again, the facts, for this hypothetical, are that the UA Worker came up to the customer and struck the customer.  The customer, in turn, then struck the UA Worker.

It is reported that prior to the blows that there was some interaction between the UA Worker and the customer concerning the customer using a wheelchair to transport luggage as opposed to paying for a luggage cart.

Can the UA Worker Claim An Injury With Respect to the Exchange of Blows?

Labor Code Section 3600(a)(7) prohibits recovery under workers’ compensation law in California “[w]here the injury does not arise out of an altercation in which the injured employee is the initial physical aggressor.” This is often referred to as the “Initial Aggressor Rule.” Thus, the fist fight injuries would not be covered as a valid claim. The reason being is that the UA Worker threw the first blow and therefore was the initial aggressor.

Could the UA Worker File a Different Claim?

From the facts of the case, the UA Worker apparently became agitated to the point that he decided to attack the customer. There is the possibility that a psyche claim could be filed.  From the video, it would appear that the UA Worker was unhinged.  A determination on this matter would be deferred to a mental health practitioner.

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 FAMOUS SLAP INCIDENT PROVES THAT HEARING LOSS IS NO JOKE: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #37

Comedian Chris Rock was famously slapped at the Academy Awards Ceremony when he was a presenter.  He reported that he still suffers from hearing loss as a result of the incident. thestart.com

This article will discuss whether Mr. Rock’s injury would be considered as a  workers’ compensation claim.

Did Mr. Rock Suffer a Work-Related Injury Eligible For Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Most likely yes.  A requirement for there to be a workers’ compensation claim is that there is an employment relationship.  The questio to be asked in a case such as Mr. Rock’s is “who did he work for?”  Whoever hired him to be the presenter would be considered his employer.  It could have been the broadcast company. It would have been the production company. It could have been a casting company.  To determine who was Mr. Rock’s employer, the first place would be to do would be to look at his paycheck.

If Hearing Loss Is Mr. Rock’s Injury, How Would It Be Addressed Under Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation Law provides for permanent disability and future medical care for hearing loss injuries.  Mr. Rock would most likely be referred to an Ear Nose and Throat or ENT doctor to evaluate him. The other name for these type of doctors is otolaryngologist.  He may also be sent to an audiologist to have his hearing tested.  Mr. Rock would also be evaluated with respect to whether his hearing loss could be corrected with hearing aids.  The medical evaluations will determine whether Mr. Rock had any permanent injury with respect to hearing loss. Likewise, they will determine if he will need ongoing and future medical care.

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.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER’S ACCIDENT YIELDS MULTIPLE WORK-RELATED INJURIES: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #36  

A horrific multi-vehicle crash occurred involving both a school bus and a dump truck. Many students were injured.    It is reported that the police investigated that matter and that it is likely that no charges that would be filed for negligent operation of a  vehicle.  It is reported that both the dump truck driver and the school bus driver were trapped in their vehicles for an extended period of time and that one of them required medical treatment.  There was no information in the article as to which driver, if any, was at fault.  Dailymail.com

This article will address whether fault would matter in this case with respect to workers’ compensation.

Can Either Driver Pursue a Workers’ Compensation Claim in This Circumstance?

Under California Law, both drivers would be able to pursue a work injury claim.  Workers’ Compensation is a “no fault” system for which the negligent operation of a vehicle causing an injury would not bar a claim.  Thus, if one of the operators had missed a stop sign and that caused the accident, if would not bar the claim.  In this instance, either operator could file a claim.  Labor Code Section 3600 provides “(a) [l]iability for the compensation provided by this division, in lieu of any other liability whatsover….shall, without regard to negligence, exist against an employer for any injury sustained by his or her employees arising out of and in the course and scope of employment.”

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.

CALFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICERS SERIOUSLY INJURED: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS, # 34

A horrendous accident happened when an alleged drunk driver struck a parked California Highway Patrol aka CHP Squad Vehicle on the freeway.  It is reported that the driver was traveling 95 miles per hour upon impact and that the cruiser. The police car erupted into flames.

The Officers were rushed to the hospital.  One is with major injuries and the two others with moderate.  One Officer was reported to have a neck brace on.  It was reported that one Officer was dragged out the burning vehicle.  Dailymail.com

Taking these facts, a hypothetical analysis of this incident will be done with an assumption that one of the Officers sustained burn injuries

Initially, What Benefits Will These Officers Receive?

California Highway Patrol Officers will initially receive a form of salary continuation benefits.  Once salary continuation benefits have been paid, total temporary disability benefits will be picked up and paid at the “state rate,” The “state rate” is a term used for the regular rate mandated for claims.

 Since The Officers Were In the Same Accident, Will Each Officer Get The Same Benefits?

 No. While the California Highway Patrol Officers were in the same accident, they will all receive different benefits.  Workers’ Compensation Benefits are based upon each individual’s injuries, their age, and their needs.

Assuming one of the Officers had severe burns, total temporary disability benefits can extended out to “240 compensable weeks within a period of five years from the date of the injury.” Labor Code Section 4656(a).   This is opposed to other Officers who most likely do not have other 4656 exceptions apply.  They would be eligible for a total of 104 weeks of temporary disability benefits.

What About Permanent Disability?

For permanent disability, each Officer will be assessed upon their body parts injured and their impairments.   Likewise, they will be assessed differently based upon their age.  Older officers will have a higher rating than younger officers irrespective that the injury happened on the same date. It is possible that the Officers may sustain the exact injury and impairment and get different ratings. This would be caused by the age adjustment in the rating.  The only item in the rating that the officers will share is that they will be assigned the same occupational group for their rating.

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.

NO PEACE, NO MCNUGGETS AT A MCDONALDS: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #33

There was no “Happy Meal” at a Boston McDonalds when minors allegedly terrorized the store.  The minors alleged conduct was so horrible that the Manager closed the restaurant.

It is alleged that these minors threw rocks and water bottles as customers and employees.

It is reported that “[a]fter the worker tossed a cup of Coke that got on one of the kids’ jeans, the group ran inside to look for the employee. That’s when one of the juveniles is accused of striking the employee “with a closed fist, causing a bump underneath (their) left eye,” the police report states. Boston EMS evaluated the worker, who refused to be transported to the hospital.” Bostonherald.com

This case will be analyzed under California Workers’ Compensation Law.

If the Worker Tossed the Cup of Coke, and Started the Incident, Would That Impact A Workers’ Compenation Claim?

Maybe. Labor Code Section 3600(a) (7) provides “[w]here the injury does not arise out of an altercation in which the injured employee is the initial physical aggressor.” This is a factual determination.  Prior to the coke cup toss by the Injured Worker, the minors may have already been throwing objects at the worker.  Thus, the minor may be considered as the initial aggressor.  Otherwise, the fact that the minor entered the store to search out the employee may give rise to that event as the initial physically aggressive act.  Alternatively, the tossing of the drink may not be ruled as to constitute a physical act.  Further, the nature of the physical injury may give rise to dismiss the initial aggressor defense.  A closed fist blow is truly a physical act as opposed to a tossed drink that got the minor’s pants.

If The Worker Initially Declined Medical Attention, Would That Impact A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

No.  There is no need to accept immediate medical attention.  Employers initially have medical control rights.  In this instance, McDonalds was responsible to provide the initial medical treatment.  At the time of the injury, the fact that the Injured Worker declined to go to the hospital would not bar the claim.  The Injured Worker, if they were in need of treatment, would be obligated to initially request treatment from McDonalds.

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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