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.

CALFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICERS SERIOUSLY INJURED: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS, # 34

A horrendous accident happened when an alleged drunk driver struck a parked California Highway Patrol aka CHP Squad Vehicle on the freeway.  It is reported that the driver was traveling 95 miles per hour upon impact and that the cruiser. The police car erupted into flames.

The Officers were rushed to the hospital.  One is with major injuries and the two others with moderate.  One Officer was reported to have a neck brace on.  It was reported that one Officer was dragged out the burning vehicle.  Dailymail.com

Taking these facts, a hypothetical analysis of this incident will be done with an assumption that one of the Officers sustained burn injuries

Initially, What Benefits Will These Officers Receive?

California Highway Patrol Officers will initially receive a form of salary continuation benefits.  Once salary continuation benefits have been paid, total temporary disability benefits will be picked up and paid at the “state rate,” The “state rate” is a term used for the regular rate mandated for claims.

 Since The Officers Were In the Same Accident, Will Each Officer Get The Same Benefits?

 No. While the California Highway Patrol Officers were in the same accident, they will all receive different benefits.  Workers’ Compensation Benefits are based upon each individual’s injuries, their age, and their needs.

Assuming one of the Officers had severe burns, total temporary disability benefits can extended out to “240 compensable weeks within a period of five years from the date of the injury.” Labor Code Section 4656(a).   This is opposed to other Officers who most likely do not have other 4656 exceptions apply.  They would be eligible for a total of 104 weeks of temporary disability benefits.

What About Permanent Disability?

For permanent disability, each Officer will be assessed upon their body parts injured and their impairments.   Likewise, they will be assessed differently based upon their age.  Older officers will have a higher rating than younger officers irrespective that the injury happened on the same date. It is possible that the Officers may sustain the exact injury and impairment and get different ratings. This would be caused by the age adjustment in the rating.  The only item in the rating that the officers will share is that they will be assigned the same occupational group for their rating.

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.

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.

DID JOURNALIST DEVELOP WORK- RELATED PTSD? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS # 32

A Washington Post Journalist on a MSNBC Meet the Press TV Broadcast revealed that“online harassment targeting her and her family caused her to experience “severe PTSD” and contemplate suicide in the recent past.”   “The MSNBC coverage aimed to detail brutal harassment faced by female journalists — noting data that showed 73% reported experiencing online attacks while doing their jobs.”It is reported that, after the broadcast, she has faced “even worse” treatment the segment.  She reported “If your segment or story on ‘online harassment’ leads to even worse online harassment for your subjects, you f—ed up royally and should learn how to cover these things properly before ever talking about them again.” nypost.comThis fact pattern is interesting with respect to the issue employer notification of injury.   Also, it is important with respect to issues of causation and apportionment.

Can This Journalist’s Television Interview Constitute Notice of Claim?

Possibly.  First, if the interview connected the PTSD to her job, it could constitute a connection of the PTSD to her work duties.   Second, her employer would have had watched the program.   If she had expressed connection, ie my job gave me PTSD, and her boss watched the program, there would be notice of a claimed injury for which her employer should notify their workers’ compensation carrier and provide the journalist a claim form.

This action is based upon Labor Code Section 5402, which provides “(a) Knowledge of an injury, obtained from any source, on the part of an employer, his or her managing agent, superintendent, foreman, or other person in authority, or knowledge of the assertion of a claim of injury sufficient to afford opportunity to the employer to make an investigation into the facts, is equivalent to service under Section 5400.”

Why Is Notice of Injury Important?

Under Labor Code Section 5402(b) “If liability is not rejected within 90 days after the date the claim form is filed under Section 5401 , the injury shall be presumed compensable under this division.  The presumption of this subdivision is rebuttable only by evidence discovered subsequent to the 90-day period.”

If The Journalist Didn’t Really Have PTSD, Would It Matter?

No.  Notice of claimed injury is about a “claimed” injury.  It is not about an actual injury.  Thus, a “claimed injury” whether actual or not is the basis for which a claims’ file should be opened.  At that point, it is the Workers’ Compensation Carrier which must investigate.

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.

UMPIRE PUNCHED IN PARKING LOT: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #31

It is reported that a woman, after being ejected for cursing at the umpires as an attendee of a softball game, waited in a parking lot and proceeded to punch an umpire in the face. The umpire sustained a bruised face and black eye.  Dailymail.com

If The Accident Happened in the Parking Lot, Would It Still Be Work-Related for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?

In workers’ compensation, an employer’s parking lot is generally considered as an extension of the employment.  Thus, even a trip and fall injury in a company parking lot can be considered as a work injury. Thus, this injury should be considered as work-related for workers’ compensation purposes.  In this matter, there is the additional connection that makes the incident work-related.  The individual who assaulted the umpire was at the game and then waited for the umpire to go to the parking lot.

Is There Any Particular Issue that Umpires Have In Pursuing Workers’ Compensation Claims?

In workers’ compensation, an Injured Worker’s average weekly wage is required in order to calculate benefits.   The nature of umpiring as a seasonal activity can make wage calculation complicated.  Umpires often have other forms of employment or wages.   These other wages must be used to calculate the wage.  This is generally done by going one year from the date of injury to account for their annual wage.  If an umpire does not have sufficient wages, they are likely to be considered a minimal wage earner for workers’ compensation benefits.   This is a fixed amount and is determined by the WCAB every year.’

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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