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.

CAN A POLICE OFFICER CLAIM INJURY WHEN HE WAS BITTEN BY HIS PARTNER? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #26

In Florida, a Police Officer sustained a work-related injury when was bitten a fellow Police Officer. His K9 partner may have tried to take a bite out of crime but instead bit his partner’s arm.  It is reported that the dog became agitated during an attempted arrest.  The dog bit his handler. Dailymail.com 

This fact pattern raises the questions as to whether an Employee can file a workers’ compensation claim when they get injured as a result of a co-worker’s mistake.   The fact pattern raises a treatment issue. Dog bites present unique issues.

Can an Injured Worker File a Claim If They Are Injured By A Co-Worker?

Yes.  Generally, workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system   This applies to the actions of co-workers.  Thus, the dog bite by his K-9 Partner is a valid workers’ compensation claim.

What Type Of Treatment Can Be Provided? 

In the instance of a dog bite, there is a concern whether the dog may have had rabies.  Thus, the Police Officer may be put on rabies treatment protocol. Likewise, treatment may be necessary to prevent infection.

Labor Code Section 4600 provides that “(a) medical, surgical, chiropractic, acupuncture, and hospital treatment, including nursing, medicines, medical and surgical supplies, crutches, and apparatuses, including orthotic and prosthetic devices and services, that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the injured worker from the effects of the worker’s injury shall be provided by the employer. In the case of the employer’s neglect or refusal reasonably to do so, the employer is liable for the reasonable expense incurred by or on behalf of the employee in providing treatment. (b) As used in this division and notwithstanding any other law, medical treatment that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the injured worker from the effects of the worker’s injury means treatment that is based upon the guidelines adopted by the administrative director pursuant to Section 5307.27.”

Thus, the medical providers treating these type of bite injuries, within the guidelines, will provide treatment to prevent infection on this matter.

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 WORST WORK INJURY EVER? INJURED WORKER IN THE NEWS, #20

A Contract Worker was killed at a landfill in Florida in perhaps the most horrible way possible.

While he was using a Porta Potty, a bulldozer ran the portable bathroom and killed his co-worker.

The Bulldozer Operator and the Deceased Employee worked for the same company.   It is reported that the driver ‘… immediately exited the bulldozer and ran towards the porta potty to see if anyone was inside of it,’ the sheriff’s office spokesperson said. ‘At that time, he observed Henderson unresponsive inside the porta potty.’ dailymail.com

This tragic fact pattern will be discussed within California Law.  This fact pattern contains many issues as to whether a worker can sustain a work injury while using the facilities.  Further, is it possible for someone to be “at fault” and pursue a claim.

If A Worker Is On A Restroom Break, Are They Protected Under Workers’ Compensation?

California Workers’ Compensation Law provides for the “personal comfort doctrine.”  The “personal comfort doctrine” provides generally that compensation extends to injuries suffered while the employee is engaged briefly and during work hours in a personal act which is necessary or helpful to his comfort or convenience. (2 Hanna, op. cit., supra, § 9.03[2][a], pp. 9–3—9–31.) The personal comfort doctrine is not strictly limited to injuries suffered on the employer’s premises. ( Cf. State Comp. Ins. Fund v. Workmen’s Comp. App. Bd. (Cardoza) (1967) 67 Cal. 2d 925 [32 Cal. Comp. Cases 525, 64 Cal. Rptr. 323, 434 P.2d 619] Fremont Indemnity Co. v. Workers Comp. Appeals Bd. (1977) 69 Cal. App. 3d 170 [42 Cal. Comp. Cases 297, 137 Cal. Rptr. 847].) [**8]  Its limit is reached when the acts “are found to be departures effecting a temporary abandonment of employment. …” ( Id., at p. 928.) Olson Farms, Inc. v. Workers Compensation Appeals Bd. of California & Suzanne Shawnego, 51 Cal. Comp. Cases 107 (Cal. App. 3d Dist. March 05, 1986)

Thus, the Contract Worker would be covered when he used the restroom since he was engaged in a personal act which was for his comfort.  His family would be able to pursue a Death Benefit Dependency Claim.

What About The Bulldozer Operator Who Cause the Accident, Does He Have A Claim?

With this fact pattern and given the “no fault” nature of workers’ compensation, the Bulldozer Operator, if he sustained an emotional injury as a result of killing his co-worker, could file a claim.  It would appear that the incident may have psychiatrically traumatizing,

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.

WCITN #3: Even Superheroes Get Hurt: What You Need to Know

Holy Cow Batwoman! Pow, Kabam! Ouch!

Ruby Rose, who played Batwoman, on the CW Television Show reported that she sustained two injuries while working on the program.

While wearing a latex Batwoman Mask, she developed an allergic reaction.  She also had an accident on the set which required back surgery. foxnew.com

Can An Allergic Reaction Be An Industrial Injury? 

Yes. Allergic reactions can be work-related injuries.  If so, the Injured Worker will receive medical treatment paid for by the insurance company as well as monetary compensation.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) is an inflammation of the skin caused by an immunologic reaction triggered by dermal contact to a skin allergen. For ACD to occur, a worker must be first sensitized to the allergen. Subsequent exposures of the skin to the allergenic agent may elicit an immunologic reaction resulting in inflammation of the skin. The reaction is not confined to the site of contact and may result in systemic responses. ACD may be caused by industrial compounds (i.e. metals, epoxy and acrylic resins, rubber additives, chemical intermediates), agrochemicals (i.e. pesticides and fertilizers), and commercial chemicals.

A common allergic reaction is latex allergies. Per the CDC, Latex Gloves have proved effective in preventing transmission of many infectious diseases. But for some workers, exposures to latex may result in allergic reactions. Reports of such reactions have increased in recent years–especially among Health Care Workers.

Can An Accident at Work Be An Industrial Injury? 

Yes. Workers’ Compensation is “no fault.”  Thus,  if Ruby Rose had hurt her back by an accidental trip, she would still be able to have a valid claim.  The claim would have paid for her back surgery, paid her compensation for her time off of work as well as provided her additional benefits.

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.

HIGH-HEELED SHOES AND MUSCULOSKELETAL INJURIES AT WORK: CLOTHING APPAREL CAUSING ORTHOPEDIC INJURIES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On the Job, Workers can get injured as a result of their attire. High-Heeled Shoes have long been considered as a possible source of work place injuries.  Injuries from High-Heeled Shoes can occur in a variety of ways and impact a multitude of parts of the body.

This article will discuss High-Heeled Shoes, the theories of industrial causation of High-Heeled Shoe related injuries, and injuries caused by High-Heeled Shoes.

What Are High Heeled Shoes?

High-Heeled Shoes are footwear in which the heel is farther off of the ground in comparison with the toe. They are considered aesthetically appealing and are commonly worn in professional settings.   As a result, many women wear them in the workplace. The alternative type of shoe is called a “flat.”

What Types of Medical Conditions Can High Heeled Shoes Cause?

There are High Heeled Shoe injuries which relate to those wearing them.  With these type of shoes,  there are issues concerning falls, issues concerning the impact on the prolonged use on the foot, and issues concerning the biomechanics of gait on other parts of the body.  Thus, physical injuries from shoes can range from toe to head.  Specific conditions caused by the footwear usage include hallux valgus and osteoarthritis.  Barnish MS, Barnish J High-heeled shoes and musculoskeletal injuries: a narrative systematic review BMJ Open 2016;6:e010053. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010053

Many pathologies are associated with wearing high heel shoes mainly in the lower extremity including blisters, callosities, heel spur, bunions (hallux valgus) in the feet which is mainly due to the altered ankle joint axis and altered arch angle, pain in the calf muscle, knee and hip joint. Younus SM, Ali T, Memon WA, Qazi A, Ismail F. High heel shoes; outcome of wearing in young generation: a cross sectional study. Professional Med J 2014;21(4): 798-803.

Also,  similarly the spine is also adversely affected resulting in back pain which is mainly due to exaggerated spinal flexion. Younus SM, Ali T, Memon WA, Qazi A, Ismail F. High heel shoes; outcome of wearing in young generation: a cross sectional study. Professional Med J 2014;21(4): 798-803.

There has been study concerning women wearing high heel shoes in department store in which hallux valgus deformity was found more common in those workers than those who wore flat shoes. Soemarko DS, Rahmasari F, Kamal AF, Cahayadi SD. Hallux valgus among sales promotion women wearing high heels in a department store. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery. January 2019. doi:10.1177/2309499019828456  It was noted that “The long duration of work with wearing high heels puts more pressure on the metatarsal, which increases the risk of HV” Supra.

What is the Legal Theory That Makes High Heel Injuries Industrial?

The legal theory behind most High Heel injury claims is that workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system. Thus, a person’s decision to wear high heels at work is not necessarily of import.  The issue is more that the high heels were in fact worn and work and it was the wearing at work which was the cause of the physical condition.  Thus, the work activities which wearing the shoes is of import. See US Airways vs. WCAB (2002) 67 C.C.C. 1243 (writ denied.) Applicant was found to have left foot injury due to continuous trauma of having to wear high heels on the job. Applicant had a medical-legal opinion that supported it.

Secondary High Heel Injuries? Bystander Injuries?

Besides injuries to the workers wearing high heels, This can include being injured as a result of a first party fall, being stepped on by a high heel shoe, and being assaulted by a pair of high heels. Barnish MS, Barnish J High-heeled shoes and musculoskeletal injuries: a narrative systematic review BMJ Open 2016;6:e010053. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010053

What Would be the Controversies in Such Injuries?

In matters involving High Heels, case analysis will focus on the usage of the shoes in the workplace.   If a cumulative trauma injury is alleged, an analysis will be done as to the nature and extent of the shoe usage in the workplace.   Likewise, there will be an inquiry as to the nature and extent of the usage of the shoes outside of work.

What Is I am Having Problems?

It is recommended that you seek medical attention.  An opinion indicating that the usage of the shoes in the workplace is a causative factor towards one’s musculoskeletal disorder, then a workers’ compensation clam should be considered.

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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