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.

A DOLPHIN ATTACKS TRAINER: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #30

In a Miami Aquarium, a Dolphin, “Sundance,” attacked his trainer.  It was reported that the dolphin repeatedly struck the trainer and tried to pull  the trainer down into the water.  Apparently, the altercation may have been caused when the trainer had accidentally scratched the dolphin.  After the attack, the visibly shaken trainer was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. www.local10.com

This article will discuss the legal issues of this incident within the California Workers’ Compensation System.

If the Trainer Accidentally Scratched the Dolphin and This Caused the Dolphin to Attack Him, Does This Bar The Trainer From Pursuing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?  

No.  Workers’ Compensation is a “no fault” system.  Thus, an employee’s accidental contact causing an injury would not be a bar.

Does Applicant’s Animal Trainer Position Impact Their Compensation?

Yes.  Permanent Disability assessment includes an injured worker’s employment class.  This is called an Occupational Group Code.  A job’s physical arduousness can increase the permanent disability.  Per the Rating Manual, an Animal Trainer’s group number is 390.  Since Animal Trainer’s job can be quite physical, there is a likelihood that they will received a higher rating for certain body parts versus an injured worker with a less arduous job. For example, a secretary’s occupational adjustment would not be as good as an Animal Trainer.

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.

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.

Did A Not So Soup-er Customer Cause A Work Injury?: Injured Workers In the News, #1

Restaurant Workers, with both COVID-19 and work shortages, are encountering unprecedented stress.  Restrictions and delays have customers are acting out in outrageous ways.  Recently, a Restaurant Manager had a scary encounter with hot soup.

It is reported that an angry Customer threw hot soup in a Restaurant Manager’s face.  The Customer was upset because she found plastic melted into the soup.  The soup was spicy menudo.  Criminal charges have been filed against the Customer.  The Manager, who was struck by the soup, stated  “the experience itself was traumatizing and heartbreaking.’ Dailymail.com ‘[I] felt my spirit had been broken just knowing someone could do something so awful and then laugh about it.’ Dailymail.com

Was There A Workers’ Compensation Injury? 

Possibly. A workers’ compensation injury requires that a body part be injured.  From the facts, it is possible that the Manager suffered a burn injury as a result of the hot soup.   Also, it is possible that she may have suffered an injury to her eyes.  Additionally, she may have suffered a psychiatric injury. From the reports, she expressed some emotions concerning the incident.

Any injury claim should be supported by medical evidence.  Thus, a medical report documenting a burn is important.  The same would be with respect to an eye injury.  Finally, any psychiatric injury claim should be supported by the opinion of either a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Why Is The Burn Injury Unique In This Case?

In this case, under California Law,  if the Manager’s eyes were burned in the incident she might be entitled to an extended period of disability benefits.   Chemically burned eyes is a basis for these extended benefits.  Whether spicy soup would be considered as a “chemical” would be an issue worthy of litigation.  The soup may have contained particular chemicals that could cause an ocular burn. Medical opinion would be required to prove this fact.

Are There Any Other Sources of Benefits Beyond Workers’ Compensation?

In light of the alleged criminal activity, the manager, if in California, could seek assistance through the California Victims’ of Crime program.  https://www.workinjuryhelp.com/california-victim-compensation-program-calvcp/

Also, there is a possible lawsuit for personal injury against the customer who caused the injury.

If the Customer’s Complaint About the Soup Was Correct, Would That Impact A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

No.  With respect to workers’ compensation law, claims are “no fault.”  Thus, even if the manager had been responsible for the hot soup problem, she would still be able to pursue a work injury claim.

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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