WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS, #11: WILL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DELIVER FOR THE UPS DRIVERS’ FAMILY?

A horrible accident occurred in San Diego, California.  A UPS Driver was killed when a twin engine aircraft crashed their vehicle.  It appears that a doctor, who owned the plane, may have been piloting the plane on a commute.

Is This a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Assuming that the UPS Driver was “on the clock” and on their route, this accident would be considered a workers’ compensation claim.   As the individual passed, this would be a death claim.

If the driver had dependents, i.e spouse or children, they would be able to receive death benefits.   The amount of death benefit depends on the nature of the dependency.  These factors include both factual and legal issues.  The death benefit amount can vary based upon the number of dependents, the characterization of the dependency, total or partial, and the age of a dependent.

In addition to the death benefit, burial expenses up to $10,000.00, are to be paid.

Is There Any Other Claim?

Yes. It appears that there may be a Third Party Liability Claim.  While an investigation may determine that there are multiple Third Parties, it would appear that the pilot, the doctor, and his estate, may be liable.   This lawsuit could be brought along with the Workers’ Compensation Claim.

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 #8: CAN A FIRE CAPTAIN FINGER LIABILITY ON A PROPERTY OWNER FOR A WORK INJURY?

In Los Angeles,  a horrific property fire happened at a Vape Shop which included an explosion. As a result, a number of firefighters sustained injuries trying to put out the fire.  A Fire Captain sustained serious injuries which included the loss of fingers.

It was reported that he is now suing the property owner for negligence.   The allegations of negligence concerned the owner’s storage of both nitrous oxide and butane containers in excess.  Dailymail.com

Was the Fire Captain’s Injuries a Workers’ Compensation Injury?

Yes.  The Fire Captain was in the course and scope of his duties when putting out the fire.  Therefore, he is entitled to pursue a workers’ compensation case.

If the Fire Captain Filed the Civil Suit Against the Property Owner, Can He Still File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes.  Many Work Injuries are caused by Third Parties. A Third Party is someone other than the Employer.   Based upon the alleged facts,  the Fire Captain could pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a civil lawsuit. He did not have to choose between one or the other.

Can an Injured Worker Collect Separately From Both a Workers’ Compensation and a Civil Claim?

Not necessarily.  Many times, the Insurance Company for the Workers’ Compensation will join in the Civil Lawsuit.  This is called subrogation.  They, like the Injured Worker, are entitled to collect a recovery from Third Party that was liable for the work injury.  The division of the proceeds from a Civil Action would be dependent on the facts. For example, if the Workers’ Compensation Insurance paid out a lot of money in medical care, their lien on the Third Party case may be quite substantial.  They would command a considerable amount.

Is There Any Special Benefits a Fire Captain Can Receive from This Work Injury?

Yes.  There are two special benefits.   First, the Fire Captain is entitled to salary continuation for up to one year pursuant to Labor Code Section 4850.  Second, the Fire Captain, due to finger amputations would be entitled 240 weeks of TTD benefits as opposed to the 104 week limitation.  This is per LC 4656.

Why Would the Fire Captain File a Civil Claim?

A Civil Claim provides for different types of damages.  For example, wage loss would be a factor.  In light of the Fire Captain’s loss of fingers, he may have substantial wage loss as his firefighting career may be over.

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.

ROBOTS IN THE WORKFORCE, INJURED WORKERS AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

“ MY EYE! ROBOT!”

Isaac Asimov, author of the book “I Robot,” propounded the rules of engagement of Robots with Mankind: “ A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”  This science fiction is quickly becoming a reality.  White Castle Hamburgers are set to employ robot cooks.   Postmates is testing electricity powered robots for food and grocery delivery. Robotics has long been part of the manufacturing.  Recent innovations have now brought robotics into the retail world.

This article will explore the how robots can interact with human workers.   It will discuss how robots can pose an injury risk to human workers and as to the nature of such claims of injury caused by robots.

Why Are There More Robots in the Workplace?

“In the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, industrial robots were capable of gripping objects, moving them from one point to another and performing assembly tasks. industrial robots were capable of gripping objects, moving them from one point to another and performing assembly tasks. They were brightly colored and usually surrounded by fences or encased in cages – factors that enhanced the safety of the humans who worked in the same facilities.” Parvatenti

This was an evolution that occurred “many of the devices are designed to work specifically alongside humans. These collaborative robots – cobots – are dexterous and flexible and can perform a wide range of tasks, including welding, painting, product inspection, die casting, drilling, glass making and grinding. Supra.

Technologies have changed.  It is amazing how robotics and the internet can be integrated.

White Castle has been “integrated with delivery apps to sync an order’s completion with its pick-up time. Meanwhile, the machine’s sensors and cameras can keep eye on inventory and recommend bulk orders for supplies when needed.”  Flippy Robots Will Cook Sliders, Mariella Moon 10/27/20, engadget.

Postmates are using a robot for delivery that can carry 50 pounds and travel up to 30 miles on a single battery charge. which can carry 50 pounds and travel up to 30 miles on a single battery charge.

Have Human Workers Ever Been Injured By Robots?

Yes.   “Robert Williams is believed to be the first person killed by a robot in an industrial accident, in January 1979, at a Ford Motor Company casting plant. “Winfield, A. et al. “Robot Accident Investigation: a case study in Responsible Robotics.” ArXiv abs/2005.07474 (2020)

If a Worker is Injured by a Robot in the Workplace, What Can They Do?

Injuries caused by robots present a unique situation for Injured Workers.  In some circumstances, the Robot may have acted in a defective manner which caused the injury to occur.   This may bring rise to a possible third-party product liability case against the robot’s manufacturer.  Further, a workers’ compensation claim may be pursued irrespective of whether the robot acted in a defective manner.  The reason being that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system.  Thus, if a human worker tripped and fell over a robot, and it was the human worker’s fault, they would still be able to pursue such a claim for benefits.

What If the Robot Was Not My Employer’s Equipment?

An injury caused by a robot who is not part of one’s employer’s equipment would still give rise to a workers’ compensation claim.   It may however give rise to a claim against the robot’s owner as well as possibly the robot’s manufacturer.

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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