group of police officers in a subway station

THE EPIDEMIC OF POLICE OFFICER INJURIES: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #119

Breitbart reports that there is an epidemic of work-related injuries to Police Officers. It is reported that over 100,000 Police Officers have been attacked over the past two years.  Further, 194 officers have been feloniously killed.   According to the article, “[t]hat number of 79,000 law enforcement officers being physically assaulted in 2023 is a sharp, sharp increase from previous years,” Sutton told the outlet. “Many of these attacks wind up in disabling injuries or serious injuries, which can have dramatic effects on the life [and] on the mental and physical well-being of these law enforcement officers.”
This article will discuss the pertinent issues with respect to this matter with respect to California Workers’ Compensation Law.  

Do These Statistics Mean Anything Concerning An Individual Police Officer’s Work Injury?

No.  Every work injury is unique. One Police Officer comparing their work injury claim to another Police Officer, for the most part, is like comparing apples to oranges.  Each Police Officer’s claim of injury is different.  The results of work injury claims can be impacted by a multitude of facts.  These include the employee’s prior history of work injuries, their prior medical history, their age, and the multitude of body parts claimed.   Likewise, the nature and extent of injury to each particular body part is a factor.  Thus, it is very likely that two Police Officers involved in the same incident and suffering the same injuries would most likely would receive different percentages of disability. 

What If One of These Attacks Prevents A Police Officer From Returning to the Job?

If it is determined that a Police Officer’s injuries prevent them from returning to work in their usual and customary position, there is the option of disability retirement.  Disability Retirement is different from workers’ compensation.  It pays different benefits.  Further, it is administered by such agencies as CALPERS or LACERA.  The agencies administrating retirement claims have rules different from those of workers’ compensation.  

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. 

blood disorder

6-Year Old Shoots Teacher: Injured Workers in the News #73

It is reported that an Elementary School Teacher was deliberately shot by a six-year-old student in her classroom.  She is reportedly critically ill.  Dailymail.com

This article will discuss this fact pattern under the premise that the Teacher was a Public School Employee within the State of California.

Are There Limits to This Teacher’s Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

In California, Workers’ Compensation Benefits are limited.   With respect to total temporary disability benefits, absent some exception, the Teacher, given the fact pattern, would likely be eligible for only 104 weeks.  With respect to medical care, while Labor Code Section 4600 provides for treatment to cure or relieve from the effects of the injury, the Teacher’s medical care would be subject to Utilization Review.  This means that Requests For [Medical] Authorization are subject to approval.

Beyond Workers’ Compensation, Is There Anything That This Teacher Can Do To Get Benefits?

If the Teacher is going to be unable to return to work within 104 week, it would appear that the Teacher should investigate her retirement rights.  Retirement can come in different forms.  Retirement can be based upon years of employment or based upon a medical disability.  In California, there is the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.   This system provides retirement benefits to California public school educators from pre-kindergarten thought community college.

Given this fact pattern, the Teacher should consult with both CALSTRS as well as the Social Security Administration for benefits.

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 MTA WORKER IS BOTH A HERO….AND AN INJURED WORKER: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #55

Mr. Anthony Wilson, an MTA Worker, is both a hero and an Injured Worker.   It was reported that “[l]ast week, Nelson was cleaning the Pelham Bay subway station in the Bronx when police allege 49-year-old Alexander Wright began to harass customers. Nelson stepped in to protect them, but the suspect quickly turned his rage toward Nelson, breaking his collarbone and nose.”  KESQ.COM

This fact pattern may involve many unique issues. This article will discuss two important issues that come up with these type of events;  the injury investigation and the Injured Worker’s high profile work injury celebrity status.

Why Would High Profile Claim Like This Be Investigated?

In California, any assault claim has the possibility of an insurance company defense of initial physical aggressor.  The initial physical aggressor rule could bar an Injured Worker’s claim.  Therefore, it is worthy of inquiry by the insurance company.  In other words, there will be an investigation as to whether the Injured Worker made the first physical contact.

Labor Code Section 5402, allows insurance companies 90 days to investigate claims.  “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.”  Thus, the Insurance Company will got out and get witness statements and see if the incident was caught on tape before accepting the claim.

Why Is The Injured Worker’s Celebrity Status A Problem?

An Injured Worker who becomes a celebrity as a result of their injury creates a problem.

When an Injured Worker is in a high profile worker’ compensation case, they may be on television or interviewed for news articles. These television reports or interviews may reveal information concerning the Injured Worker’s injuries and their physical activity level.   Additionally, in interviews, Injured Workers may try to make a positive and uplifting impression rather than be accurate concerning their complaints.  This information can be used to impeach the Injured Worker.  Also, it could be sent to examining or evaluating physicians.

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.

ANGRY CUSTOMER + MACHETE + A DICK’S SPORTING GOODS STORE MANAGER = WORK INJURY: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #53

A Dick’s Sporting Goods Store had quite an incident.   A Customer, angry over the fact that he could not purchase a gun, reportedly took out a machete and slashed the Store Manager and 2 others.  The Store Manager is reported to have serious injuries to his torso, arms, and head.  It is reported that the Manager suffered severed tendons in the arms. TimesofIsrael.com

Does Workers’ Compensation Treat All Injured Body Parts Treated Equally?

No.  In California Workers’ Compensation, each body part is addressed separately.   Each body part, not including psych injuries, is to be assessed under the American Medical Association Guidelines 5th Edition.   A Whole Person Impairment is assigned to each body part.   This impairment is translated into a rating percentage.  The Worker’s Occupation is also used to adjust the rating percentage.  Per the Rating Schedule, After the rating is adjusted for diminished future earning capacity, it is then modified to take into account the requirements of the specific occupation that the employee was engaged in when injured.   SCHEDULE FOR RATING PERMANENT DISABILITIES 2005.  The adjustment is based upon who value the body part is to the occupation.  In other words, a job that requires lifting will get added value for a back.  With the Manager, their torso, arms, and head will be assigned distinct values.  With a Manager, the head may be rated higher both on a cosmetic level and on a cognitive level versus the torso and arms.  Should a psychiatric injury be pled, that rating percentage would go upwards as a Manager’s job requires a significant mental capacity.

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.

 

MCDONALD’S WORKER PEPPERED IN POSSIBLE ROBBERY ATTEMPT: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #51

A McDonald’s Worker was pepper sprayed in what was believed to be an attempted robbery.   The employee’s injuries were reported to be minor. They were not taken to the hospital.  nypost.com

This article will discuss the issues with respect to this incident.

If the Worker Wanted to Pursue a Claim of Emotional Injury, Does the Fact It Appeared to Be Attempted Robbery Matter?

No.  From the facts, there were actual events of employment that occurred, the worker being pepper sprayed.  Thus, there would be a basis for the Injured Worker to pursue a psychiatric claim if they wished to pursue such a case. The fact that a robbery was suspected would not matter.

At the Time of the Incident, Is There Anything the Injured Worker Should Do?

In this matter, while the injuries were minor, it would be advisable that the Injured Worker to attend at least one medical evaluation to be treated and to document their complaints. Additionally, the evaluation should be a physical examination so that blood pressure readings and other physical findings can be documented.  Failure to document complaints can cast doubt as to disability if later claimed.

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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