DID TOSSED NUGGETS, FRIES AND A DRINK AT A WENDY’S EMPLOYEE CAUSE A WORK INJURY? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS #44

Had  a Wendy’s Frosty been involved, things could have been worse.  It is reported that  a Wendy’s Drive Thru Worker was  assaulted by nuggets, fries, and a drink.

An unhappy customer  contended that the bag the food came with a guarantee of hot and crispy food.  She felt her order did not meet that standard.  It is reported that “[s]he said that she got spicy nuggets instead of normal ones, saying they were burnt.” After profanity and outrage, it is reported she threw the bag of food at the worker.  Fox10phoenix.com

Was There a Work Injury?

From the facts, it does not appear that a physical injury was sustained. A physical injury is a term used to describe orthopedic injuries or wounds.   For example, if a glass bottle had been thrown and caused wounds, that would be considered as a physical injury.  In this instance, the injury would be considered as a mental injury. From the facts, it is possible that the worker may have sustained a psyche injury.  The news report indicated that the Worker was harassed, threatened, cursed at and had items thrown at her by an angry customer who overreacted. Such an injury would require the opinion of a mental health practitioner finding a psychiatric injury.  A finding would require a diagnosis such as PTSD, Anxiety Disorder or Depression.

If The Worker Had Gotten The Food Order Wrong Which Triggered The Incident, Would That Effect the Validity of the Work Injury Claim?

In this instance, no.  Workers’ Compensation is a “no fault” system.  In this instance, even if the employee got food order was wrong, the resultant incident would still be covered within workers’ compensation. Labor Code Section 3600, lays out that “(a) Liability for the compensation provided by this division, in lieu of any other liability …shall, without regard to negligence.”

While workers’ compensation is no fault, good faith personnel actions may bar a psychiatric claim.  Had there been no incident with the customer, a Worker being written up for improperly filling an order most likely would be considered a “good faith” personnel action.

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.

A ROBECKS EMPLOYEE’S ENCOUNTER WITH A CUSTOMER DID NOT GO SMOOTHLY: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #12

A Robeck’s Juice Store Customer’s tirade rocked Store Employees.  He shouted anti immigrant statements as well a profanity.  It is reported he tried to enter the employee’s work area and his tossed and struck an employee with a drink.

The Customer was angry because he believed that the employee who prepared the drink with nuts in it.  His child, with nut allergies, had a reaction and required being taken to a hospital. Anaphylactic shock which can be deadly.

It was reported that he said, ‘Shut the f*** up! Stupid f****** idiot. You’re a f***** idiot. I want the f***** number. Shut up,.the furious customer…, demanding to know the number of the corporate office.  ‘You’re a f***** immigrant loser,’ he then says to one of the employees, prompting the rest of the staff to yell at him to leave the store.  ‘Get the f*** out of here, you f****** b***.’  Dailymail.com

Was There a Work Injury?

In this matter, while the facts are strongly suggestive of a work injury, there is more that is needed.  While a Worker was struck by a drink, the question is whether they sustained  either a physical or mental injury as a result.  The same question is with the tirade as well.

Thus, for workers’ compensation purposes, medical professional reporting of either a physical or mental nature is required.  Unlike a personal injury claim that could arise from the incident, workers’ compensation requires more evidence.  The fact pattern lack medical documentation to indicate whether there is a claim.

If The Worker  Was Wrong In Making the Drink Would That Matter?

With this fact pattern, if the Worker had improperly made the drink, it would not matter. The outburst as a result and the throwing of the drink would still be considered as events that could cause a legitimate work injury.   Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system.  The interaction was between an Employee and a Customer.

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.

 

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS, EPISODE #2, A RESTAURANT COOKING UP STRESS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

A Restaurant closed for a “day of kindness” after enduring customers’ abuse. Nypost.com  Restaurant Employee stress is real.  Some of the story’s restaurant’s employees were reduced to tears from customers swearing, threatening, arguing, and yelling.

The story illustrated multiple stressors that restaurant employees experience.  Customer abuse was the highlight.  There were management problems as well. The Employer noted that they “.. have had to make adjustments due to the increase in business volume, size of kitchen, product availability and staffing availability.”

Can Work Stress Be the Basis for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes. Work stress can be a source of psychiatric injury claim.   it can be the source of other stress related conditions.

Do The Restaurant Employees From the Story Have a Claim?

In California, the predominant cause of a psychiatric claim of injury arise from actual events of employment.  Further, good-faith personnel action which is substantial (35-40%) can defeat a claim.

In the story, the stressors did not come from employer discipline or write-ups.  Rather it came from Customers and Management organizational issues.  Thus, it can be argued that 100 percent of the work stressors do not fall within the personnel action defense.

Are Stressed Out Employees Eligible for Time off From Work?

Work stress can cause employees to go out sick. Mental Health Practitioners may take stressed out employee off of work.  This may entitle the Injured Worker to obtain benefits during their time off.   It should be noted that in the story, the workers, technically, never received a day off.  Instead, they spent the day cleaning the restaurant.

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 over 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS, EPISODE #1: BURGER MADNESS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Many news articles involve work injuries.  A recent viral story about Burger King Employees quitting their jobs en masse is one of them.

Fox News reported that  “[e]mployees there said they’ve been working in a kitchen with no air conditioning for weeks, with the temperature reaching more than 90 degrees at one point, according to KLKN Channel 8.  One employee, former general manager Rachael Flores, was reportedly hospitalized for dehydration, according to KLKN Channel 8. “

This article will discuss how these facts involve a work-related injury and what legal issue, within workers’ compensation, that may apply.

What Is the Work Injury? 

From the facts, the high heat at the work location may have caused the work to suffer from dehydration.   This is suggestive of a heat-related illness/injury.

Heat Illnesses can include (1)  Heat Stroke which is the most serious form of heat illness. It requires immediate medical treatment. Symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures; (2)  Heat Exhaustion which is is a less serious form of heat illness. It can involve headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst and heavy sweating. It can lead to heat stroke; (3)  Heat Cramps which is a mild form of heat illness. It is essentially muscle cramps and spasms. They can occur either when working or not; and (4) Heat Rash which is a skin irritation. It is also known as “prickly heat.”

How Does This Injury Become A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The Burger King Employee who suffered from dehydration should file a workers’ compensation claim.  Workers’ Compensation Insurance should pay for this worker’s medical bills and receive all other workers’ compensation benefits.

Is There A Special Claim That May Apply In This Case?

Yes.  This claim has facts to suggest that the employer acted in a way that would be considered serious and willful misconduct.  The working conditions concerning the high heat may have been in violation of safety regulations.  Also, there may have been intentional acts delaying the repair of the air conditioning unit.

Per Labor Code Section 4553, “the amount of compensation [for the workers’ compensation claim] otherwise recoverable shall be increased one-half, together with costs and expenses not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250), where the employee is injured by reason of the serious and willful misconduct of any of the following: (a) The employer, or his managing representative. (b) If the employer is a partnership, on the part of one of the partners or a managing representative or general superintendent thereof. (c) If the employer is a corporation, on the part of an executive, managing officer, or general superintendent thereof.”

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 over 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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