CAN A TEARFUL EVENT AT GARDENA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL BE A WORK INJURY? INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS, #7

In the news, a recent horrifying event allegedly occurred at the Gardena Community Hospital.  It is reported that dead covid-19 patients’ bodies were mishandled. The allegation reported is that these bodies were left outside in the rain. An anonymous witness indicated that “Security had tears in their eyes. They’re crying. Some of the security had to leave because they got fluid on their clothes when they did move the bodies,” the witness said. cbslocal.com

The issue presented is whether this event could be a work-related injury.

Was There a Work-Related Injury?

Possibly. The alleged facts are certainly extremely distressful.  Further, they did create an emotional reaction.  The question, however, is whether this stressful event caused an emotional injury. Labor Code Section 3208.3(a), provides that “[a] psychiatric injury shall be compensable if it is a mental disorder which causes disability or need for medical treatment, and it is diagnosed pursuant to procedures promulgated under paragraph (4) of subdivision (j) of section 139.2 or, until these procedures are promulgated, it is diagnosed using the terminology and criteria of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition-Revised, or the terminology or criteria of other psychiatric diagnostic manuals generally approved and accepted nationally by practitioners in the field of psychiatric medicine.”

Thus, if the Security Guards went to a mental health practitioner and were diagnosed with a mental disorder, they may be able to pursue a claim.  Mere upset or distress relating to the event would not be a sufficient basis to pursue a claim.

Who Was the Employer?

Workers’ Compensation claims are to be filed against one’s employer.  Security Guards at facilities are often employees of independent Security Companies that contract with institutions.  In other words, the hospital may have hired a security company to provide security guards.  If this is the case, the security guards would file their workers’ compensation claim with their company and not the hospital.  If they were hospital employees, they would file with the hospital.

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.

Job Choice, Spinal Pain & Workers’ Compensation

Your job choice may impact you having spinal pain.  Neck and Back pain may have a relationship to your job satisfaction.  A recent study suggests that workers’ spinal pain may have some connection to whether the workers like their job.  Skillgate E, Isacson Hjortzberg M, Strömwall P, Hallqvist J, Onell C, Holm LW, Bohman T. Non-Preferred Work and the Incidence of Spinal Pain and Psychological Distress—A Prospective Cohort Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):10051. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910051

This article will discuss the possible relationship between spinal pain and job satisfaction.

How Did the Study View Job Satisfaction?

A non-preferred work is, here, defined as reporting working in a non-preferred profession and/or non-preferred workplace. Skillgate E, Isacson Hjortzberg M, Strömwall P, Hallqvist J, Onell C, Holm LW, Bohman T. Non-Preferred Work and the Incidence of Spinal Pain and Psychological Distress—A Prospective Cohort Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):10051. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910051

This study essentially looked at those who liked their job and those who didn’t.

Is There Other Research Results Concerning Pain Intensity and Job Satisfaction?

Yes. There have been studies suggesting a positive association with job satisfaction and pain.  It was reported that “people who did not like their workplace experienced higher pain intensity compared to those who did like their job.” The study did not address any causal relationship, however.  Supra.

What was the Current Study’s Conclusions?

“Non-preferred work seems to be associated with a higher incidence of developing spinal pain, psychological distress and spinal pain with concurrent psychological distress, especially if the possibility to change job is low. “ Supra.

In sum, workers stuck with an unhappy job are more likely to have spinal pain versus those who have job satisfaction.

What Does This Mean?

This study, to some degree, supports the nature and extent of an Injured Workers’ pain.  Injured Workers, who have jobs with little satisfaction, may legitimately suffer more spinal pain than those who have job satisfaction.   Therefore, there is perhaps a valid argument to make that these Injured Workers should have their pain assessments discounted.

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.

WCITN #9: A Stressful Scene At An Italian Restaurant

In New York, a controversial scene that happened at Carmine’s Restaurant. It was not about a bottle of red, a bottle white, or a bottle of rose, it was in part as a result of COVID-19 restaurant limitations.  As a result, an altercation ensued in which a two month employee was assaulted by customers.  It is reported that criminal charges were filed against the individuals who attacked her.  The reporting does not indicate whether the hostess sustained any physical injuries.   It is reported that she has not returned to work since the incident.

The restaurant spokesperson stated “[t]hree women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, got arrested and charged for their misconduct, and then, over the last several days, had their lawyer falsely and grossly misrepresent their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable,” Carmine’s owner Jeffrey Bank said in a statement, according to WABC.” Foxnews.com

The owner also said “[m]y team members work too hard to serve our guests, work too hard to comply with New York’s vaccination requirements, and still suffer too much from the attack for me to allow these false statements to stand,” Bank said in his statement.” Foxnews.com

Does the Hostess Have a Valid Workers’ Compensation Injury?

From viewing the incident online, it is unclear as to whether the Hostess sustained a physical injury.  A physical injury could be a musculoskeletal injury or some form of cut or abrasion.  Besides a physical injury, she may have sustained an emotional or stress injury as a result of the incident.

Is Her Short Employment a Workers’ Compensation Issue?

Yes. In California, to file for a stress claim, a worker must have worked for a period of 6 months.  The six months is not required to be continuous. There is a sudden and extraordinary employment condition.  This is per Labor Code Section 3208(d).

The question is whether the customer altercation would constitute a sudden and extraordinary employment condition. This would be considered a triable issue for which a Workers’ Compensation Judge can make a determination.

Can Evidence Be Important In This Matter?

In this case, the Employer made statements as to the extraordinary nature of the events that occurred.  These comments would be useful evidence to prove that the incident was a sudden and extraordinary employment condition.  Likewise, the fact that arrests were made of the patrons would be an important fact.

What Would the Hostess Receive If Her Claim Was Accepted?

If the Hostess’ claim was pursued and accepted in California, she would be entitled to treatment, total disability payments, permanent disability payments, and possibly a job displacement voucher. The entitlement to these benefits is dependent on the medical provider’s opinions.

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.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS #5 : WHERE ARE MY DOGGONE BENEFITS?

Lady Gaga’s Dogwalker was in the news.  He was shot and left for dead while trying to prevent the dogs from being stolen.  The DailyMail.com recently reported he has launched a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of a road trip he’s taking to heal his ’emotional and mental health’. [Mr.]Fischer shared that the van he’s been traveling in for two months has broken down and he needs financial support.”

Are There Any Benefits That Mr. Fischer May Receive Through Workers’ Compensation?

Yes. However, Mr. Fischer would have to prove that he was an employee of Ms. Gaga at the time of the incident.  This would require a factual analysis concerning what he services he performed and how he was compensated.  It is possible that he could be considered as an employee and be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  This would include payment of benefits and medical care.

If It Was A Workers’ Compensation Claim, Is There Anything Unique That Would Apply?

Yes.

In light of the fact that it was a shooting, a psychiatric injury may have occurred.  California Workers’ Compensation Law treats Psychiatric Injuries caused by Violent Events differently from other Psychiatric Injuries. If a Psychiatric Injury is caused by a Violent Event, the causation threshold for proving an injury is lowered. This means that it is easier to qualify to attain it.. For Violent Events, the causation standard is lowered to a substantial cause. This means at least 35 to 40 percent. See Labor Code Section 3208.3.

Beyond Workers’ Compensation, Are There Any Other Benefits That Someone Could Obtain In the Event of A Robbery and Shooting?

Even if he is not considered an Employee, there is a special Victims Compensation Board Program in California.  The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board administers the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP.) The program provides forms of compensation for victims of crime. The crimes, which may eligible for the program, can include domestic violence, child abuse, assault, sexual assault, elder abuse, molestation, homicide, robbery, hate crimes, drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter, human trafficking, stalking and online harassment.

To be eligible for compensation, a person must be a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death. For certain crimes, an emotional injury alone is enough to qualify. Certain family members and loved ones who suffer an economic loss from an injury to, or death of, a victim of a crime may also be eligible for compensation.

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.

 

STRESSED OUT WORKERS: SOCIAL MEDIA, UNSYMPATHETIC CUSTOMERS, AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

A TikTok trend, is stressing out Starbucks Baristas.  The NyPost reports that customers who are TikTok fans are essentially harassing workers with outlandish orders.  One famous order is from an Edward.  Edward’s drink is a double blended drink containing 13 ingredients. nypost.   Unless a commensurate tip is provided for time consuming orders, it is  understandable why these customized drinks can be a source of Barrista stress, anxiety and upset.  Further, too many of these orders simultaneously ordered could place a real grind on the fulfillment of regular orders.

Customer stress can a valid basis for a Workers’ Compensation “Stress” or “Psyche” claim. Should the stress from being inundated by these ridiculous time consuming orders give rise to an emotional disorder, a Barrista could consider filing a workers’ compensation claim to seek medical attention and benefits.

Are There Any Requirements to File Such a Claim?

Before filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is important for an Injured Worker to have some understanding as to whether they will prevail.

The “Six-Month” Rule

Given a claim relating to excessive order, an employee must have six months of employment that need not be continuous.  If you have issues as to whether you worked six months, an attorney consultation is indicated.

“Predominant Cause”

The employee must provide by a preponderance of the evidence that the injury was caused by work.  There is a defense of good faith personnel action.   If there are various sources of work stress such as write-ups or discipline, an attorney consultation is indicated.

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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