group of police officers in a subway station

Sergeant Accused Of Pulling Fellow Officer’s Ponytail: Injured Workers in the News, # 74

A Police Sergeant reportedly yanked a fellow officer’s ponytail while at the Police Station.  The hair tug, according to a complaint, caused the Officer to have “substantial” neck pain.  It was reported that the Officer had prior neck problems and that the Police Sergeant, who pulled the hair, was aware of her medical condition

This article will discuss this fact pattern within California Workers’ Compensation law.

Was This A Work Injury?

Under California Law, the aggravation or acceleration of a pre-existing medical condition can be considered as a work injury. So, if the Police Officer’s condition worsen and it was not a mere exacerbation of the prior condition, it can be considered a new injury.  Likewise, there must be an injury.  The claim of substantial pain is not sufficient to warrant a claim of injury. There should be a diagnosis.  Was this a cervical strain and sprain?  Did the incident cause a cervical disc injury? Thus, a medical opinion from a treating doctor or an evaluating physician is important.

Did This Instance Warrant Any Other Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Given the facts, it is possible that the pulling of the hair would constitute an act of serious and willful misconduct.  Given the alleged facts that the supervisor knew that the worker had a prior neck injury when she pulled her by her ponytail may bring the action to the level of serious and willful misconduct.  If found, there would be an additional increase in compensation and penalty that would apply. The S & W would only apply if there was an underlying injury.  Per California Labor Code Section 4553 “[t]e amount of compensation otherwise recoverable shall be increased one-half, together with costs and expenses not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250), where the employee is injured by reason of the serious and willful misconduct of any of the following: (a) The employer, or his managing representative…”

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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