WAS A UNITED AIRLINES WORKER BRAWL WITH A PASSENGER A WORK-RELATED INJURY? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #38

A viral video shows a United Airlines Luggage Check-In Worker engaged in a fist fight with a customer.  The video shows the UA Worker punching the customer.  The video then shows the customer beating up the worker.  Dailymail.com

For the purpose of this post, we will take the video as the totality of the interaction. Thus, we will analyze whether the UA Worker can claim a work injury for the blows that he sustained. Again, the facts, for this hypothetical, are that the UA Worker came up to the customer and struck the customer.  The customer, in turn, then struck the UA Worker.

It is reported that prior to the blows that there was some interaction between the UA Worker and the customer concerning the customer using a wheelchair to transport luggage as opposed to paying for a luggage cart.

Can the UA Worker Claim An Injury With Respect to the Exchange of Blows?

Labor Code Section 3600(a)(7) prohibits recovery under workers’ compensation law in California “[w]here the injury does not arise out of an altercation in which the injured employee is the initial physical aggressor.” This is often referred to as the “Initial Aggressor Rule.” Thus, the fist fight injuries would not be covered as a valid claim. The reason being is that the UA Worker threw the first blow and therefore was the initial aggressor.

Could the UA Worker File a Different Claim?

From the facts of the case, the UA Worker apparently became agitated to the point that he decided to attack the customer. There is the possibility that a psyche claim could be filed.  From the video, it would appear that the UA Worker was unhinged.  A determination on this matter would be deferred to a mental health practitioner.

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.

THE FAMOUS SLAP INCIDENT PROVES THAT HEARING LOSS IS NO JOKE: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #37

Comedian Chris Rock was famously slapped at the Academy Awards Ceremony when he was a presenter.  He reported that he still suffers from hearing loss as a result of the incident. thestart.com

This article will discuss whether Mr. Rock’s injury would be considered as a  workers’ compensation claim.

Did Mr. Rock Suffer a Work-Related Injury Eligible For Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Most likely yes.  A requirement for there to be a workers’ compensation claim is that there is an employment relationship.  The questio to be asked in a case such as Mr. Rock’s is “who did he work for?”  Whoever hired him to be the presenter would be considered his employer.  It could have been the broadcast company. It would have been the production company. It could have been a casting company.  To determine who was Mr. Rock’s employer, the first place would be to do would be to look at his paycheck.

If Hearing Loss Is Mr. Rock’s Injury, How Would It Be Addressed Under Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation Law provides for permanent disability and future medical care for hearing loss injuries.  Mr. Rock would most likely be referred to an Ear Nose and Throat or ENT doctor to evaluate him. The other name for these type of doctors is otolaryngologist.  He may also be sent to an audiologist to have his hearing tested.  Mr. Rock would also be evaluated with respect to whether his hearing loss could be corrected with hearing aids.  The medical evaluations will determine whether Mr. Rock had any permanent injury with respect to hearing loss. Likewise, they will determine if he will need ongoing and future medical care.

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 DOLPHIN ATTACKS TRAINER: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #30

In a Miami Aquarium, a Dolphin, “Sundance,” attacked his trainer.  It was reported that the dolphin repeatedly struck the trainer and tried to pull  the trainer down into the water.  Apparently, the altercation may have been caused when the trainer had accidentally scratched the dolphin.  After the attack, the visibly shaken trainer was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. www.local10.com

This article will discuss the legal issues of this incident within the California Workers’ Compensation System.

If the Trainer Accidentally Scratched the Dolphin and This Caused the Dolphin to Attack Him, Does This Bar The Trainer From Pursuing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?  

No.  Workers’ Compensation is a “no fault” system.  Thus, an employee’s accidental contact causing an injury would not be a bar.

Does Applicant’s Animal Trainer Position Impact Their Compensation?

Yes.  Permanent Disability assessment includes an injured worker’s employment class.  This is called an Occupational Group Code.  A job’s physical arduousness can increase the permanent disability.  Per the Rating Manual, an Animal Trainer’s group number is 390.  Since Animal Trainer’s job can be quite physical, there is a likelihood that they will received a higher rating for certain body parts versus an injured worker with a less arduous job. For example, a secretary’s occupational adjustment would not be as good as an Animal Trainer.

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.

NEWS REPORTER SERIOUSLY HURT IN UKRAINE: INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #28

A Fox News Reporter sustained severe injuries when he and his crew came under attack in Ukraine.  According to reports, Mr. Hall, the reporter, wrote, “[t]o sum it up, I’ve lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other. One hand is being put together, one eye is no longer working, and my hearing is pretty blown… but all in all I feel pretty damn lucky to be here – and it is the people who got me here who are amazing!” poynter.org

It is reported that he had extensive medical treatment. He was evacuated out of Ukraine. He was taken to Germany and then he was taken to Texas for treatment.

This article will discuss issues of this fact pattern as if it would fall under a California Workers’ Compensation Law.

Does Medical Treatment Include Transportation Costs?

Yes.  Medical transportation is included as part of medical treatment In Mr. Hall’s instance, there was Med-Evac Treatment.  In other terms, Medical Transportation is necessary as part of medical treatment.   This is included with Labor Code Section 4600 under the provision to provide medical treatment which is reasonably required to cure or relieve from the effects of the injury.  Air Ambulance Services are included under this provision.

Are There Any Special Benefits That Would Be Available Under Workers’ Compensation Law?

Yes. There are two body parts that may make Mr. Hall eligible for additional periods of temporary disability given the facts.  The amputation would qualify him for the extended TTD benefits in accordance with Labor Code Section 4656.  Likewise, his eye injury may also qualify him for the benefit.  His injury to his eye was caused by a high velocity object or it was a result of a chemical burn. This determination will require a determination by a medical doctor as to the cause.  The specific language in the statute is “high-velocity eye injuries” or “chemical burns to the eyes.”

What Would Be the Venue for This Claim?

While the injury happened in Ukraine, this claim will be filed at a particular state.  Most likely, Mr. Hall’s claim could be filed at the location he works.  Thus, if he is based out of Texas, Texas law may apply.  Venue, at times, can involve a multitude of factors.  This can include where his contract was made or which States Mr. Hall worked in at Fox.  In otherwords, there may be a choice of venue given the facts of the case.

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 Amazon’s Conduct Constitute Serious and Willful Misconduct When Amazon Employee Died at Work? Injured Worker in the News #27

An Amazon Distribution Center collapsed and a delivery driver died.  Governmental Officials noted “[w]e are concerned by recent reports that Amazon may be putting the health and safety of its workers at risk, including by requiring them to work in dangerous conditions during tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather.” Foxnews.com

How does the Workers’ Compensation System address questionable conduct by Employers?

What Is a Serious and Willful Misconduct Claim?

In California, there is increased workers’ compensation benefits that can be awarded if an Employer engages in serious and willful misconduct.  This term is a legal term.  The Labor Code, in Section 4553, provides that “[t]he amount of compensation 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.

How Does One Prove It?

Claims of Serious and Willful Misconduct are highly factual.  These claims are either tried or settled.

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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