MTA CLEANER SUSTAINS INJURIES IN AN UNPROVOKED ATTACK: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS # 48

It is reported that a New York City MTA Worker was slugged in the face.  She worked as a cleaner. It is also reported that she worked for a company contracted with the MTA.    Nypost.com

This article will discuss “unprovoked attacks.”

Are There Any Special Benefits For Individuals Who Sustain Work-Related “Unprovoked Attacks”?

Possibly.  In California, a number of companies and government agencies provide benefits beyond workers’ compensation for unprovoked attacks.  In other words, some employers, when there is an unprovoked attack, will pay the injured worker funds that exceed traditional workers’ compensation benefits.

The companies who have this benefit are likely to do so are government agencies.  Unprovoked Attack Benefits are usually are delineated in a Union Contract or the Memorandum of Understanding.

If an Injured Worker sustains an injury caused by an unprovoked attack, they may want to make an inquiry as to whether they are eligible.  The Human Resources Department should be able to provide the worker the answer to their eligibility.  Again, these benefits are not too common.  They usually involve occupations that have extensive contact with the public or individuals who are incarcerated. 

An example of these benefits come from the Los Angeles version of the MTA.   Some employees are provided the benefit per the contract as follows: “SECTION 2. PAYMENT FOR TIME LOST (a) It is further agreed that if the Operator is physically injured as a result of such robbery, or as a result of an unprovoked attack by another person, such injury resulting in a loss of time, he/she shall be paid 100% of the time lost during the first seven (7) days of disability and 80% of the time lost thereafter. If Workers’ Compensation Benefits are provided during this period, the basis of payment will be as shown above less the Workers’ Compensation Benefits. Operators sustaining injury shall be paid for all time lost as the result of an unprovoked attack when medical verification is provided. Payment will be limited to a maximum of one (1) year after the date of any one incident. (b) An Operator required to wear prescription glasses as a condition to his/her license to drive, whose prescription glasses are lost or damaged as a result of robbery or unprovoked attack, will be compensated up to a maximum of four (4) days’ pay for time lost until the glasses are repaired or replaced. (c) In the event an Operator loses time due to the loss of his/her regulation watch in a robbery or unprovoked attack, he/she will be compensated for the remainder of his/her assignment that day.”

Given the Present Fact Pattern, What Should This Worker Do?

With the reported facts, the Applicant worked for a company that was contracted with the MTA. Thus, it is more likely that her employer may not provide her for such a benefit. Again, she should check with her Human Resources Department to ascertain whether she is entitled to this additional benefit.

Are There Disputes Concerning Unprovoked Attacks? What Happens?

Yes. Over my years of representation, Employers can dispute an unprovoked attack claim.  If this happens, there is likely a dispute resolution process that occurs.  This would be addressed via the Union Contract or Memorandum of Understanding.  Whether there was an unprovoked attack is not something that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board would adjudicate.

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.

 

ZOO WORKER LITERALLY HAS A BAD HUMP DAY: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #47

Yes. On a Wednesday, aka Hump Day, it is reported that a Camel bit a Minnesotan Zoo Worker on the head.  The Zoo Worker was dragged about 15 feet. Foxnews.com  Another another co-worker was also bit in the head.  The Injured Worker, who was bit and dragged, was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.  The other Injured Worker declined medical treatment.  The camel reportedly was not injured.

The fact pattern raises many important issues within workers’ compensation.

Who Pays for the Worker’s Airlift to Get Medical Treatment?

In California, medical transportation is considered as part of medical treatment.  As such, if an ambulance or airlifting is medically necessary, the expense is to be paid for by the workers’ compensation carrier.

What Are the Concerns for the Injured Worker Who Was Dragged?

The Injured Worker who was bitten and dragged by the head has multiple medical concerns.  First, there is question as to whether a Camel bite can transmit any blood borne illnesses or infections. Second, there is the question as to whether there was a head injury or trauma.  Third, there is the concern as to whether there was an orthopedic neck injury. Finally, there is a concern that this injury caused an emotional injury.  As such, it is important for the Injured Worker  document with the medical providers all of their complaints.

Is There Any Concern for the Injured Worker Who Declined Medical Treatment?

Yes. Sometimes, at the time of the accident, an Injured Worker may feel that they were not injured.  Sometimes, the next day they start feeling aches and pains from the accident.  Therefore, it is important that the Injured Worker, even though they are not seeking medical attention, fill out a workers’ compensation claim form, a DWC-1,  and note the body parts affected.  In this instance, the Injured Worker should note that they were bitten on the head.

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.

 

IWITN #38: Was A United Airlines Worker Brawl With A Passenger A Work-related Injury?

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.

IWITN #37: The Famous Slap Incident Proves That Hearing Loss Is No Joke

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.

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