WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS #7:  WHEN LIFE SAVERS LOSE THEIR LIVES

A California Firefighter recently died when battling the State’s second largest wildfire, the Dixie Fire.

While the individual who died was not identified, it would appear that he worked for CALFIRE and was an Assistant Fire Engine Operator with the Lassen National Forest.   It was reported that he suffered from a previous illness. Foxnews.com

What Type of Claim Can Be Filed When A Worker Dies?

In the event of a death, the Injured Worker’s dependents may pursue death benefits.  Dependency can vary depending upon a variety of factors.   These factors include the amount of support provided, the dependent’s age and the dependent’s marital status.

If Someone Had a Pre-Existing Medical Condition and Dies On the Job, Would That Impact a Death Claim?

Possibly. If work had a causative role in the death, then death benefits would be indicated.  If work had absolutely no causative role, then a death claim may not be viable.  The causation decision is made per medical opinion and legal statutes.  For example, for certain firefighters, a heart presumption applies.  This presumption can impact the medical provider’s opinion on causation.

For Firefighters, Are There Special Benefits in the Event of Death Claims?

For certain Safety Members, there are special benefits that apply.  For certain dependents, they may be eligible for a special death benefits retirement through CALPERS. In that circumstance, a dependent will have to choose a special death benefit pension versus workers’ compensation death claim.   Other dependents may have to pursue death benefits via the workers’ compensation appeals board. See Jones v. CDCR Kern Valley State Prison, 2014 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 461

Are Burial Expenses Provided?

Yes. Workers’ compensation death cases provide for burial expenses.   The current amount of the expenses is $10,000.00.

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.

Thinking Too Much On The Job Can Get You Injured

Can thinking too much at work get you hurt?

A new study investigated this issued of Cognitive Stress.  Cognitive Stress is the term used for thinking.  Commonly, people describe the term as “multi-tasking.”

The study discussed the impact of cognitive load on an individual’s ability to perform secondary tasks.

This article will discuss Cognitive Stress, Cognitive Stress’ impact on Workers, and the “Monday Morning Effect.”

What Is Cognitive Stress?

Cognitive Stress can also be described as Cognitive Load.

For example, I can ask you to remember four numbers.  Then, I can ask you to remember eight numbers.  Then, I can ask you to remember sixteen numbers.   Each time there are additional items to recollect it gets mentally more difficult to perform.

One’s judgement can also be affected when subjected to cognitive stress. Bonsang, Eric and Caroli, Eve, Cognitive Load and Occupational Injuries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3794083

Thus, individuals may be decision when stressed that they would not make when not stressed.

How Does Cognitive Stress Impact Workers?

The study found that the “handling a large number of non-professional activities generates a threat for health at work for individuals in high-risk occupations and with a low level of education.”  The study suggested “that when an individual is employed in a high-risk job, distraction is a problem but that a high-enough educational level may help coping with the cognitive burden imposed by multi-tasking.” Bonsang, Eric and Caroli, Eve, Cognitive Load and Occupational Injuries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3794083

In sum, it appears that individuals with higher educational levels may be able to “multi-task easier than those with less education.

Is There a “Monday Morning Effect?”

Monday Mornings are controversial within workers’ compensation.  There are many within the workers’ compensation field that question the veracity of claims that occur on Mondays.   One main driver for this opinion is that a worker can get injured on the weekend and then claim that it occurred on the next workday.  Generally, the next workday is Monday.

Cognitive Stress theory suggests that Mondays are a time at which individuals get mentally reacquainted with their tasks.   Thus, there is a higher level of mental stress activity versus during the week.  Currently, the study did not have appropriate data to make such an analysis.   The study’s authors believe that their findings were definitely consistent with the possibility. Bonsang, Eric and Caroli, Eve, Cognitive Load and Occupational Injuries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3794083

What Does This Mean?

In California Workers’ Compensation, since the system is “no fault” in terms of injury causation, this information may not offer most than an explanation as to how the injury occurred.   In a disputed case, this information, however, may explain how and why a disputed injury occurred.

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 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

 

 

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