An Amazon Delivery Driver was tragically found dead. Two dogs are suspected to have attacked the Driver. A news reports has a quote from an authority that “[d]ue to the fact of the nature of some of the injuries to the male driver, we can’t confirm or deny if (the dogs) were the cause of the death of the driver, however we wanted to be safe,” … said. It was noted that “[a] preliminary investigation indicates that animal bites played a role in the Amazon worker’s death, but a medical examiner will make the final determination.” nypost.com
This article will discuss how the workers death will be analyzed as far as an industrial injury.
How Will The Death Causation Be Analyzed for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?
In California, the death need not be solely related to a work incident. The California Supreme Court in South Coast Framing, Inc. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd., 61 Cal. 4th 291, noted that “ contributing proximate cause within the meaning of Kimbol has been applied more broadly in the workers’ compensation context than in tort law. HN7 Death attributable to both industrial and nonindustrial causes may support a death claim, and industrial causation has been shown in an array of scenarios where a work injury contributes to a subsequent nonindustrial injury. An employee is entitled to compensation if a new or aggravated  injury results from medical or surgical treatment for an industrial injury.”
Who Will Determine Whether The Death Was Industrial?
In California, an Injured Worker is entitled to have a medical evaluation to prove up their claim of industrial medical causation. In a death case, it can be an examiner who will review the medical records and coroner reports to address. Usually, there is no need for them to examine the body. This can be in the form of a Panel Doctor from the State of California who is a Qualified Medical Evaluator. Otherwise, it can be a neutral doctor agreed upon; an Agreed Medical Examiner.
In accordance with South Coast Framing, the doctor will address the cause of death and whether the dog bites contributed to the death. If the bites excited the worker and he had a heart attack and died, the bites would be found as a contributory cause of 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.