HOUSEKEEPER ENCOUNTERS MYSTERY SUBSTANCE AND SUSTAINS INJURY: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS #71

A Hotel Housekeeper became ill when she encountered a mysterious white powder in a hotel room.  It was reported that there was  “a “white powdery substance” near the bathroom sink and [the worker] began feeling dizzy and nauseous…” Nypost.com  According to the reports, tests found that the substance was not hazardous material.

This article will discuss how this type of claim would be handled from the onset within the workers’ compensation system.

After the Worker Got Hurt, What Should Happen?

In California, Employers are obligated to provide treatment.  The Hotel Worker, in this matter, would be taken to a medical facility to be treated and evaluated.  Hopefully, the Worker would receive blood, urine and drug testing.

Because of the mysterious nature of the powder, the insurance company most likely would delay in accepting liability for the claim. . The insurance company may want to know “what was in the powder?” before taking any action.  Under Labor Code 5402, the insurance company is allowed to investigate a claim for 90 days.

How Will This Case Be Proven To Be Work-Related?

In this matter, the initial medical treatment records will be important.  The worker’s medical diagnosis is critical.  The nature of the powder, however, is of lesser importance.

Even if the powder was not toxic and was benign, a Worker, seeing the powder, could have suffered an emotional reaction from that event.  This would be covered under workers’ compensation.  In that circumstance, either a psychiatric injury or physiological response to stress, i.e. aggravation of hypertension, could have occurred.

If there were an un-stress related medical diagnoses, a nexus or connection would have to be made to the substance.  Thus, medical testing, i.e. blood or urine, would be important to prove the case.   Likewise, testing of the substance would be of import.

In the end, the medical injury will be determined by a medical evaluator. A treating physician, qualified medical examiner or agreed medical examiner will offer their opinions on industrial causation.

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 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.

CAN PARENTS CAUSE A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH A PSYCHIATRIC WORK INJURY?  INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS #64

Parent mistreating High School Football Coaches is becoming a problem.  If this mistreatment caused the Coach an emotinoal injury, can a workers’ compensation claim be filed?

A recent news report indicated that a High School Football Coach quit his job due to parents’ behavior.  It was reported that, after a game ended, a group of parents yelled at the coach [and possibly the team] and tried to embarrass them.  The Coach noted that the actions seemed dehumanizing.  The Coach was so concerned over the parents’ treatment that, for fames, he would use escorts in order leave games or take back exits.

Can Parents Be A Source Of A Work Injury? 

Parents can be a source of a work injury.  Given the facts of the particular case, the parents’ harassment of the Coach occurred during a time when the Coach was performing his employment.  Thus, there were actual events of employment that would be considered a the source of the stress.  Psychiatric stress claims must meet certain thresholds.  Further, a mental health practitioner would have to have diagnosed the Worker with a condition.  Mental illness can include diagnoses such as depression or anxiety.

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.

 

 

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