group of police officers in a subway station


In New York City, there is outrage within the Criminal Court System which is impacting two injured Police Officers. 
The following fact pattern illustrates the complicated nature of the work injuries. Two Police Officer were injured as a result of being attacked by Migrants.  Video of the incident went viral.  Following this, the Criminal Justice System’s inept handling of the Migrants’ prosecutions have made matters worse.  This story as well has become viral. The Criminal Justice System’s ineptness continued. A recent report noted that there is even “so called” outrage by the Judge handling the criminal matters. 
One of the accused Migrants, all who allegedly have been offered sweet-heart deals, is still making news.  While the assault case is still pending, this individual was arrested while out on bail.   The Judge expressed outrage “I am furious that Mr. Brito was rearrested and charged with petty larceny while he was out on this case.”  The reported that the Judge fumed as she warned that another slip up would land him behind bars. “I am very tempted right now to put you in jail. I am telling you right now, if I learn you are rearrested for anything at all between now and this case being finished, I will order a warrant and I will place bail so high, you will not get out,” she continued.
One must certainly believe that these two Police Officers are constantly being reminded of their trauma with each new courtroom drama from the matter.  This is the case along with the viral reporting from the matter.  Thus, an issue arising from these facts is as to whether the outrageous publicity surrounding the matter should also be subject matter for the work injury.
This fact pattern will be addressed within California law. 


Can Publicity from A Work Injury Cause A Work-Related Injury? 

In Workers’ Compensation, there were two types of injuries.  There are specific injuries and there are cumulative trauma injuries.   
In this instance, if the Police Officers are still working, they may be subjected to cumulative trauma.  The cumulative trauma, which could be causing stress or impacting the workers’ body systems- i.e. cardiovascular system, due to the stress, could be the result of people approaching them during work hours and reminding them about their work injury and the craziness that has transpired in the court system. Likewise, there may be some stress derived from their need to participate in the criminal prosecution of accused. 
Likewise, these two officers could encounter stress outside of work as a result of these incidents.  There are many newspapers, social media platforms and television news programs reporting on the matter.   Away from work, they may also be informed of the continuing problems on the legal cases.   
Thus, should this stress manifest into a psychiatric injury or a stress related internal medicine injury.  
The officers reading about the incident off of work, however, would not necessarily be considered as work related.   On a specific injury theory of the case, however, there is the argument that the further reminder of the incident would be considered as a compensable consequence of the underlying assault.  In essence, each time they are reminded of events surrounding the assault and prosecution, it rips off the healing emotional scar;  it is a reminder of the original incident.  As such, it relates back to the original injury. 
While lawyers can come up with theories as to the date of the injury, in the end, it would be a mental health doctor determining whether the publicity contributes to an emotional injury, causes an emotional injury, or exacerbated an emotional injury. With this, the injury can be properly adjudicated.  

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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