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.

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.

Did A Not So Soup-er Customer Cause A Work Injury?: Injured Workers In the News, #1

Restaurant Workers, with both COVID-19 and work shortages, are encountering unprecedented stress.  Restrictions and delays have customers are acting out in outrageous ways.  Recently, a Restaurant Manager had a scary encounter with hot soup.

It is reported that an angry Customer threw hot soup in a Restaurant Manager’s face.  The Customer was upset because she found plastic melted into the soup.  The soup was spicy menudo.  Criminal charges have been filed against the Customer.  The Manager, who was struck by the soup, stated  “the experience itself was traumatizing and heartbreaking.’ ‘[I] felt my spirit had been broken just knowing someone could do something so awful and then laugh about it.’

Was There A Workers’ Compensation Injury? 

Possibly. A workers’ compensation injury requires that a body part be injured.  From the facts, it is possible that the Manager suffered a burn injury as a result of the hot soup.   Also, it is possible that she may have suffered an injury to her eyes.  Additionally, she may have suffered a psychiatric injury. From the reports, she expressed some emotions concerning the incident.

Any injury claim should be supported by medical evidence.  Thus, a medical report documenting a burn is important.  The same would be with respect to an eye injury.  Finally, any psychiatric injury claim should be supported by the opinion of either a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Why Is The Burn Injury Unique In This Case?

In this case, under California Law,  if the Manager’s eyes were burned in the incident she might be entitled to an extended period of disability benefits.   Chemically burned eyes is a basis for these extended benefits.  Whether spicy soup would be considered as a “chemical” would be an issue worthy of litigation.  The soup may have contained particular chemicals that could cause an ocular burn. Medical opinion would be required to prove this fact.

Are There Any Other Sources of Benefits Beyond Workers’ Compensation?

In light of the alleged criminal activity, the manager, if in California, could seek assistance through the California Victims’ of Crime program.

Also, there is a possible lawsuit for personal injury against the customer who caused the injury.

If the Customer’s Complaint About the Soup Was Correct, Would That Impact A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

No.  With respect to workers’ compensation law, claims are “no fault.”  Thus, even if the manager had been responsible for the hot soup problem, she would still be able to pursue a work injury claim.

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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