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.

NEWS REPORTER SERIOUSLY HURT IN UKRAINE: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #28

A Fox News Reporter sustained severe injuries when he and his crew came under attack in Ukraine.  According to reports, Mr. Hall, the reporter, wrote, “[t]o sum it up, I’ve lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other. One hand is being put together, one eye is no longer working, and my hearing is pretty blown… but all in all I feel pretty damn lucky to be here – and it is the people who got me here who are amazing!” poynter.org

It is reported that he had extensive medical treatment. He was evacuated out of Ukraine. He was taken to Germany and then he was taken to Texas for treatment.

This article will discuss issues of this fact pattern as if it would fall under a California Workers’ Compensation Law.

Does Medical Treatment Include Transportation Costs?

Yes.  Medical transportation is included as part of medical treatment In Mr. Hall’s instance, there was Med-Evac Treatment.  In other terms, Medical Transportation is necessary as part of medical treatment.   This is included with Labor Code Section 4600 under the provision to provide medical treatment which is reasonably required to cure or relieve from the effects of the injury.  Air Ambulance Services are included under this provision.

Are There Any Special Benefits That Would Be Available Under Workers’ Compensation Law?

Yes. There are two body parts that may make Mr. Hall eligible for additional periods of temporary disability given the facts.  The amputation would qualify him for the extended TTD benefits in accordance with Labor Code Section 4656.  Likewise, his eye injury may also qualify him for the benefit.  His injury to his eye was caused by a high velocity object or it was a result of a chemical burn. This determination will require a determination by a medical doctor as to the cause.  The specific language in the statute is “high-velocity eye injuries” or “chemical burns to the eyes.”

What Would Be the Venue for This Claim?

While the injury happened in Ukraine, this claim will be filed at a particular state.  Most likely, Mr. Hall’s claim could be filed at the location he works.  Thus, if he is based out of Texas, Texas law may apply.  Venue, at times, can involve a multitude of factors.  This can include where his contract was made or which States Mr. Hall worked in at Fox.  In otherwords, there may be a choice of venue given the facts of the case.

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.

SHOULD WORKERS’ COMPENSATION MEDICAL TREATMENT PROTOCOLS BE CHANGED?

California Workers’ Compensation Law has adopted the concept of Evidence Based Medicine as a means of allocating medical care to Injured Workers.  A British Medicine Journal article should perhaps serve as a “wake up” call for the Department of Industrial Relations as to whether this reliance on EBM should be re-visited.   The article entitled “The Illusion of Evidence Based Medicine.”

Evidence Based Medicine attempts to quantify the value of forms of medical treatment.   Evidence Based Medicine can conduct various studies to determine whether particular surgeries, medications, treatments, or therapies are helpful to patients.   Arguably, this is analogous to taking a survey on which ice cream flavor one likes.  If there is a large consensus on vanilla, then there is a likelihood that vanilla will be served to everyone wanting ice cream.  You, however, may prefer chocolate and derive much satisfaction from it.

Evidence Based Medicine depends upon reliable data from studies.   It is reported, however, that confidential pharmaceutical industry documents have given insight that misrepresentations are present in the findings.  This leads the author’s to conclude that evidence based medicine is an illusion.  In other terms, Evidence Based Medicine, without proper evidence, is bogus.

The Workers’ Compensation System is premised on medical probability.  Any false or inaccurate information, from any source, compromises the system. This includes opinions concerning medical treatment.  Thus, bogus scientific studies cannot be used to deny medical care.  Therefore, it would be wise if the Department of Industrial Relations reach out to those who administrate the medical authorization to address the serious concern raised by the article.

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.

CAN A POLICE OFFICER CLAIM INJURY WHEN HE WAS BITTEN BY HIS PARTNER? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #26

In Florida, a Police Officer sustained a work-related injury when was bitten a fellow Police Officer. His K9 partner may have tried to take a bite out of crime but instead bit his partner’s arm.  It is reported that the dog became agitated during an attempted arrest.  The dog bit his handler. Dailymail.com 

This fact pattern raises the questions as to whether an Employee can file a workers’ compensation claim when they get injured as a result of a co-worker’s mistake.   The fact pattern raises a treatment issue. Dog bites present unique issues.

Can an Injured Worker File a Claim If They Are Injured By A Co-Worker?

Yes.  Generally, workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system   This applies to the actions of co-workers.  Thus, the dog bite by his K-9 Partner is a valid workers’ compensation claim.

What Type Of Treatment Can Be Provided? 

In the instance of a dog bite, there is a concern whether the dog may have had rabies.  Thus, the Police Officer may be put on rabies treatment protocol. Likewise, treatment may be necessary to prevent infection.

Labor Code Section 4600 provides that “(a) medical, surgical, chiropractic, acupuncture, and hospital treatment, including nursing, medicines, medical and surgical supplies, crutches, and apparatuses, including orthotic and prosthetic devices and services, that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the injured worker from the effects of the worker’s injury shall be provided by the employer. In the case of the employer’s neglect or refusal reasonably to do so, the employer is liable for the reasonable expense incurred by or on behalf of the employee in providing treatment. (b) As used in this division and notwithstanding any other law, medical treatment that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the injured worker from the effects of the worker’s injury means treatment that is based upon the guidelines adopted by the administrative director pursuant to Section 5307.27.”

Thus, the medical providers treating these type of bite injuries, within the guidelines, will provide treatment to prevent infection on this matter.

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.

WCITN #14: A Unique Film Production Injury

The Rust Film Production’s fatality was not the only work injury of interest. Another worker sustained a work injury when they were bitten by a venomous brown recluse spider. This occurred when the production was shutting down.  The spider’s bite contained poison.  As a result, the crew member has been hospitalized and may require the amputation of an arm. The injury occurred “on location.”

It is reported that “a lamp operator and pipe rigger, was working to wind down production of the film after cinematographer … was fatally shot…, when he was bitten by a brown recluse spider – a venomous spider that is native to North America.”  It was reported he “started experiencing severe symptoms, including necrosis of his arm, which occurs when cells die, and sepsis.” Dailymail.com

There are several unique issues with regard this work injury:

Where Should the Workers’ Compensation Claim Be Filed?

The location of where a work injury is to be filed is generally referred to as the venue.  Workers’ Compensation for private employers is generally a state issue.  Thus, when there is a “on location” injury, the question arises as to which state would be the proper venue.  This is an issue which is heavily factual.  Where the employee lives, where the contract was made, where the employer is located, and where the injury happened as are relevant.  A careful legal analysis must be done to determine venue.  There are times when multiple states may serve as a proper venue.

Who Pays the Medical Bills?

In the news reports, there was concern about the  Injured Worker’s medical bills.  In California Workers’ Compensation Law, the Employer is 100 percent liable for paying medical bills that are generated in accordance with the Labor Code.  Thus, it is important that the claim be made.

Is There Anything Special Concerning the Nature of the Injury?

Yes.  If an amputation is required in the matter, the Injured Worker’s period of temporary disability payments would be extended from 104 weeks to 240 week which must be within the period 5 years from the date of injury.

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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