COVID-19, HEALTHCARE WORKERS, AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

A recent Occupational COVID-19, Study addressed Coronavirus Work Injury Claims for Health Care Workers.  The study was done in Germany.  Nienhaus A. COVID-19 among Health Workers in Germany-An Update. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Aug 31;18(17):9185. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18179185. PMID: 34501773; PMCID: PMC8431697.

Healthcare Workers, being on the front line of medical care, are at significant risk for industrial COVID-19 infection injuries.  Infection rates appear to be different for each particular Healthcare Occupation.   Infection risk differs from support staff workers to nurses to doctors.  Likewise, the Healthcare Worker’s workplace can impact the infection risk. Facility types, i.e. hospital, nursing home, etc, can play a role in infection rates.

This article will discuss the study which addresses Healthcare Workers and their industrial COVID-19 infection rates.

What Health Care Facilities Are Impacted?

The study showed that “most claims concern inpatient and outpatient nursing (39.5%) or clinics (37.6%).” Supra.

In contrast, medical practices are not subject to as many claims.  It was reported that “As few as 3.2% of the claims concern medical practices.” Supra.

In other words, it appears that facilities which address extended patient care have greater rates than mere evaluations or examinations.

What Was the Claims Acceptance Rate for Occupational Injury?

 It was reported that “.. 77.5% of all claims were assessed, and in 81.4% of these, the OD(Occupational Disease) was confirmed.” Supra.

Thus, it appears in Germany that there is wide acceptance of industrial claims of injury for COVID-19.

How Are Healthcare Workers Impacted?

Nursing is the profession most impact with 68.8% of the cases. Supra.

Hospitals had the highest claims rates with 41.3 claims per 1000 full time workers. Supra.

What Was Treatment Severity?

It was reported seventy-seven workers died (0.09%) and three hundred and seventy-five (0.4%) were hospitalized. Supra.

The majority of workers got treatment clinics (52.3%) and inpatient and outpatient care facilities (28.0%)  Supra.

What Percent Claims Considered as Industrial?

 A total of 65,693 (77.5%) claims were assessed, and for 81.4% of these claims, the Occupational Disease was confirmed. Supra.

Where Was the Highest Frequency of Claims?

The Occupational Disease rate per 1000 full time workers highest in clinics, followed by inpatient and outpatient care (28.9 and 20.8). Supra.

Where Were the Highest Claims Rates?

The Occupational Disease rate per 1000 full time workers was highest in clinics, followed by inpatient and outpatient care (28.9 and 20.8). Supra.

The hospital breakdown was  per 100,000 full time workers highest for clinics (25.4), followed by inpatient and outpatient care (10.5) and medical practices (8.7). Supra.

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.

WCITN #9: A Stressful Scene At An Italian Restaurant

In New York, a controversial scene that happened at Carmine’s Restaurant. It was not about a bottle of red, a bottle white, or a bottle of rose, it was in part as a result of COVID-19 restaurant limitations.  As a result, an altercation ensued in which a two month employee was assaulted by customers.  It is reported that criminal charges were filed against the individuals who attacked her.  The reporting does not indicate whether the hostess sustained any physical injuries.   It is reported that she has not returned to work since the incident.

The restaurant spokesperson stated “[t]hree women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, got arrested and charged for their misconduct, and then, over the last several days, had their lawyer falsely and grossly misrepresent their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable,” Carmine’s owner Jeffrey Bank said in a statement, according to WABC.” Foxnews.com

The owner also said “[m]y team members work too hard to serve our guests, work too hard to comply with New York’s vaccination requirements, and still suffer too much from the attack for me to allow these false statements to stand,” Bank said in his statement.” Foxnews.com

Does the Hostess Have a Valid Workers’ Compensation Injury?

From viewing the incident online, it is unclear as to whether the Hostess sustained a physical injury.  A physical injury could be a musculoskeletal injury or some form of cut or abrasion.  Besides a physical injury, she may have sustained an emotional or stress injury as a result of the incident.

Is Her Short Employment a Workers’ Compensation Issue?

Yes. In California, to file for a stress claim, a worker must have worked for a period of 6 months.  The six months is not required to be continuous. There is a sudden and extraordinary employment condition.  This is per Labor Code Section 3208(d).

The question is whether the customer altercation would constitute a sudden and extraordinary employment condition. This would be considered a triable issue for which a Workers’ Compensation Judge can make a determination.

Can Evidence Be Important In This Matter?

In this case, the Employer made statements as to the extraordinary nature of the events that occurred.  These comments would be useful evidence to prove that the incident was a sudden and extraordinary employment condition.  Likewise, the fact that arrests were made of the patrons would be an important fact.

What Would the Hostess Receive If Her Claim Was Accepted?

If the Hostess’ claim was pursued and accepted in California, she would be entitled to treatment, total disability payments, permanent disability payments, and possibly a job displacement voucher. The entitlement to these benefits is dependent on the medical provider’s opinions.

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.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS #7:  WHEN LIFE SAVERS LOSE THEIR LIVES

A California Firefighter recently died when battling the State’s second largest wildfire, the Dixie Fire.

While the individual who died was not identified, it would appear that he worked for CALFIRE and was an Assistant Fire Engine Operator with the Lassen National Forest.   It was reported that he suffered from a previous illness. Foxnews.com

What Type of Claim Can Be Filed When A Worker Dies?

In the event of a death, the Injured Worker’s dependents may pursue death benefits.  Dependency can vary depending upon a variety of factors.   These factors include the amount of support provided, the dependent’s age and the dependent’s marital status.

If Someone Had a Pre-Existing Medical Condition and Dies On the Job, Would That Impact a Death Claim?

Possibly. If work had a causative role in the death, then death benefits would be indicated.  If work had absolutely no causative role, then a death claim may not be viable.  The causation decision is made per medical opinion and legal statutes.  For example, for certain firefighters, a heart presumption applies.  This presumption can impact the medical provider’s opinion on causation.

For Firefighters, Are There Special Benefits in the Event of Death Claims?

For certain Safety Members, there are special benefits that apply.  For certain dependents, they may be eligible for a special death benefits retirement through CALPERS. In that circumstance, a dependent will have to choose a special death benefit pension versus workers’ compensation death claim.   Other dependents may have to pursue death benefits via the workers’ compensation appeals board. See Jones v. CDCR Kern Valley State Prison, 2014 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 461

Are Burial Expenses Provided?

Yes. Workers’ compensation death cases provide for burial expenses.   The current amount of the expenses is $10,000.00.

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.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS #6, THE BOSS WHO WAS PHILLY CHEESESTEAK KNIFED

In the City of Brotherly Love, a Philadelphia Cheesesteak Shop Owner was stabbed in the neck by an employee.  The news report indicated that the employee lunged “at his boss from behind and thrusting a 10-inch knife into his neck.”  It was also reported that the store owner’s son was present “his son grabbed two knives and tried to ward off the employee, the footage shows. nypost.com

After the attack, the store owner said, his son told him: “Dad, you have a knife in your neck … Don’t pull it out.”

In California, this incident may be considered as a work injury entitling either the owner or the son benefits.  There are several questions that need to be addressed to make a determination.

Can an Employer File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The answer is “yes” and “no.”  In California, it is possible that a Business Owner can be covered under workers’ compensation.  Generally, if the company is a corporation and the owner is an employee of the corporation, they may be able to be covered as an employee.  This must be arranged within the policy’s terms.    If so, just like their fellow employees, an employer can file a work injury claim.

Thus, if covered, in the fact pattern reported above, the owner could file a claim for both his physical injury and possibly for a mental injury.

Can The Owner’s Son File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes.  If his son was a company employee,  he could file a claim. In California, if the son suffered emotional distress over witnessing the violent event,  it is possible that he could pursue a psychiatric workers’ injury claim.

It should be noted California Workers’ Compensation Law treats Psychiatric Injuries caused by Violent Events differently from other Psychiatric Injuries. If a Psychiatric Injury is caused by a Violent Event, the causation threshold for proving an injury is lowered. This means that it is easier to qualify to attain it.. For Violent Events, the causation standard is lowered to a substantial cause. This means at least 35 to 40 percent. See Labor Code Section 3208.3

Beyond Workers’ Compensation, Are There Any Other Benefits That Either The Owner or Son Could Collect? 

Even if the Owner or the Son are not considered an Employees, there is a special Victims Compensation Board Program in California.  The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board administers the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP.) The program provides forms of compensation for victims of crime. The crimes, which may eligible for the program, can include domestic violence, child abuse, assault, sexual assault, elder abuse, molestation, homicide, robbery, hate crimes, drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter, human trafficking, stalking and online harassment.

To be eligible for compensation, a person must be a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death. For certain crimes, an emotional injury alone is enough to qualify. Certain family members and loved ones who suffer an economic loss from an injury to, or death of, a victim of a crime may also be eligible for compensation.

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.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS EPISODE # 4: BLACK BEAR PROBLEM ON AISLE 3

While there were no work injuries, it was one that was quite memorable day for the Ralph’s Supermarket Employees at the Porter Ranch, California location.  A Black Bear went grocery shopping.  Brave workers were able to chase the 125 pound wild animal out of the store.   Eventually, wildlife officials were able to take the animal to a safe location. alt987fm

It is quite possible that the store employees or the wildlife officials could have injured themselves when they encountered the animal.

Are Animal Related Injuries Worker’ Compensation?

Yes. Workers who are injured by animals at work can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

What Types of Injures Can be Animal-Related?

There is a wide variety of ways a Worker can get injured by Animals.

Allergic Reactions: This can include Cats, Dogs and Horses for dander, Fish, Shellfish and Insects

Attacks: This can include Cows, Cattle and Dogs.

Bites: This can be from Cats, Dogs, and Insects

These bites can include venom. Bites can cause illnesses such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Exposure/Inhalation: Workers can experience respiratory diseases as a result of exposure to animal products, dust, pathogens or chemicals(pesticides/disinfectants.)See Occupational Health (M Friesen and K Applebaum Section Editors) Published: 10 December 2019 Recent Research on Occupational Animal Exposures and Health Risks: A Narrative Review Caroline Dignard & Jessica H. Leibler Current Environmental Health Reports volume 6, pages236–246(2019)

Falls: Workers can fall off of ladders when being distracted by insects or fowl.

Goring: This can occur in the rodeo settling.

Interference: This can occur during transportation.   For example, Animals on roads causing drivers to swerve or stop.

 Lifting: Certain Job tasks involve the lifting of both live and dead animals

Mechanical Interference:  Animals getting into machinery causing dysfunction. For example, Birds getting sucked into jet turbines.

Scratches: Scratches from cats can cause disease.

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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