group of police officers in a subway station

POLICE OFFICERS DISRESPECTED BY THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS, #117

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 Nypost.com 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 Nypost.com 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. 

Analysis

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. 
 
  

 

deeply worried old man consoled by his wife

HIGH SCHOOL COACHES STRESSED BY HARASSMENT: INJURED WORKERS’ IN THE NEWS, #108

Long Beach High School Basketball Coaches are reportedly getting  harassed on the job. It has been reported reported that a second coach recently resigned.

With the last resignation, the Coach indicated that they received text messages from the parents. “It was eating me alive—the text messages I received, the messages going back and forth on Instagram,”  Nbc News.  The reporting noted that “both coaches emphasized that these aggressive parents are making volunteer coaching positions difficult to justify, as the toll on mental health becomes too significant.” Nbc News.  The news report that the Long Beach Unified School District was contacted on the matter and refrained from making any comment.

This post will explore whether this particular fact pattern could give rise to a workers’ compensation injury claim.

Can Someone File a Stress Claim If They Resign?

A resignation due to stress would not bar a workers’ compensation claim.  An Injured Worker can pursue a claim regardless of their employment status.  In this instance, the claim would likely be a stress or psyche claim.  Thus, the claim would be for a psychological injury such as an anxiety or depressive disorder.

Can Someone Claim Benefits If They Are A Volunteer?

Yes. It is possible that a Volunteer can claim workers’ compensation benefits.  There are some provisions that allow volunteers to file claims. These individuals should check  with the HR department to see if they are eligible.

Does Parental Harassment Constitute Job Stress?

Yes. Parental harassment would be considered as an industrially related stress.

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.

workers compensation

BUS DRIVER STRESSED AND SPRAYED UPON: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS #81

Tormented by students, a School Bus Driver went viral tirade when she quit her job.  The Asthmatic Bus Driver reportedly suffered attacks after students repeatedly sprayed perfume on her.  Upon the second spraying. she became irate. She said that was done with “this sh@$”, and left her job of two years. dailymail.com

This article will discuss whether the incidents could constitute a work injury.

Did These Instances Constitute Work Injuries? 

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, the aggravation or acceleration of an underlying medical condition can be considered as a work-related injury.   Given the fact pattern, if there was a medical opinion that the Bus Driver’s condition asthma condition was somehow aggravated or accelerated then there would be a respiratory work injury. If so, she would be entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits include monetary compensation and medical treatment.

Even if there was no asthma injury, the stressful nature of the incident could constitute a work injury. A stress or psychiatric injury may be indicated.   Again, such a claim would also require a medical professional rendering an opinion that there was an injury. The bottom line is that, regardless of how horrible the facts, they are not a substitute for medical reporting.

In sum, it is possible that both asthma and psyche injuries occurred.  In that instance, it can be asserted that the Bus Driver is claiming two injured body parts.

If There Was No Asthma Injury, Can There Still Be A Psyche Injury?

Yes. In California, even if there was no asthma injury, a psychiatric claim could still be viable.  In that instance, the asthma attacks could have been a mere exacerbation the Bus Driver’s pre-existing condition.  The perfume may not have caused any injury but rather a momentary flare up.  Both of these episodes could have caused emotional upset.   If the Bus Driver could prove that the predominant cause of an emotional condition was caused by the bullying and the perfume spraying, she could pursue a psyche work injury.  Again, the opinion on causation and on medical condition injured requires the opinion of a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.

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.

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.

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.

 

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