Farnsworth https://farnsworthattorney.com Law Group Fri, 01 May 2020 14:59:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://farnsworthattorney.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Logo-3.png Farnsworth https://farnsworthattorney.com 32 32 Truck Driving Injuries and California’s Workers’ Comp Law https://farnsworthattorney.com/truck-driving-injuries-and-californias-workers-comp-law/ Fri, 01 May 2020 14:59:57 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=498 Work injuries are unfortunate events in life. Because of this, most of the states have laws that force companies with five or more employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance. If you get injured in San Francisco while you are driving your truck, and you are not an independent contractor, then you may qualify for benefits [...]

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Work injuries are unfortunate events in life. Because of this, most of the states have laws that force companies with five or more employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance. If you get injured in San Francisco while you are driving your truck, and you are not an independent contractor, then you may qualify for benefits under San Francisco workers’ comp. Truckers feel more secure because this law is created and administrated at the state level. California also provides workers’ comp for truck drivers.

Truck driving is a massive business in the US, and it is expanding with time. According to the American Trucking Association, around 3.5 million individuals are working as truck drivers nationwide. But it is risky, more than you think. It also has a high mortality rate compared to other professions.
This is the reason employees’ compensation is essential for trucking business more than any other professionals. However, the employee needs to provide evidence of the injuries that they sustained because of driving; they can hire a workers’ comp attorney San Francisco.

Here are the things you need to know about the compensation law for drivers.

How Does Workers Comp for Truck Drivers Work?

Worker’s compensation is a financial protection for employees who endure injuries during work. An individual who gets injured at work or suffer from an illness, disability, or gets scars, will be eligible to get benefit from the employees’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation provides financial support to cover the expenses of medical care, lost income, and disability payments. To get the benefits and file for your compensation, you need to inform your employer about your injuries and ask your San Francisco workers’ compensation attorney to file for employees’ compensation claims. It’s always best to get your attorney on board right after the injury because the filling process is complicated, plus employers try to hide the facts related to the truck driver injuries to avoid workers comp for truck drivers. Moreover, your boss can also use different methods to steal your privileges, such as they can misclassify your employment status by declaring you as independent contractors.

What Is The Right Time To File My Claim?

Injured truck drivers should quickly act because if you take too much time to file a claim, the court can deny it. You need to claim workers’ comp for truck drivers after the incident as soon as possible because failure to claim timely can lead to denying your claim completely. In California, it is advisable to report job-related injuries on the very first day when your doctor determines your injuries as work-related.

Filing the claim in the early hours is also important to get your required medical treatment to cure your injuries. Unfortunately, you may not be able to afford your healthcare expenses on your own as injuries like herniated discs, broken bones, and ligament tears can cost you a lot more money than you think.

Workers’ Compensation for Truck Drivers

Workers comp for truck drivers have few main benefits, and they are:

  • Medical Care
    If a person gets hurt while working, then they will receive money to pay for the medical care needed to recover from the injury. Moreover, your employer’s insurance agency will reimburse you up to $10,000 of your medical treatment expenses, even when your employer denies your claim.
  • Temporary Disability Benefits
    You will receive temporary disability benefits, which will be equal to two-thirds of your average weekly salary calculated as the total pre-tax amount an individual was earning before the injury. You will be able to receive temporary disability benefits for around 104 weeks.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits
    If your injuries left you with permanent disability, your San Francisco workers’ compensation attorney would claim for the permanent disability benefits. The total amount you will get depends on the permanent disability rating given by your doctor. This rating’s calculation involves complex equation that includes your occupation, age, and injuries.
  • Supplement Job Displacement Benefits
    You will receive supplement job displacement benefit if you get a partial disability rating from your health care provider, and you are not getting modified work from the employer.
  • Death Benefits
    The death benefits are for the deceased’s dependents, including spouse, children, or other family members if the death occurs because of the job. The benefits include funeral expenses and an amount of money as weekly compensation to surviving family members.

If you and your employer both work together to sue the negligent driver to get additional payment, in this case, this amount is not the part of your employees’ compensation claim.

Is the Workers’ Comp Law Different For Employees and Independent Contractors

It is essential to understand that the truck drivers who work as employees under the contractors are eligible to get compensation benefits. However, independent contractors can’t receive workers’ compensation. If you get injured during work and believe that your employee misclassifies you, then speak with your work injury lawyer.

It’s a common practice of employers to classify the drivers as independent contractors to save themselves from paying compensation. Fortunately, the California Supreme Court has introduced new laws to protect truck drivers and make the employers pay compensation. If you get injured from the accident that occurred because of your work, you should get fair and full compensation for your injuries.

Bottom Line

You must hire one of the best Bay Area workers’ compensation attorneys to claim workers’ comp for your injuries. Most truckers face difficulty in proving that they sustain injuries at work. Farnsworth Law Group will help you throughout the process of compensation and guide you on how to deal with the situation. But it’s important to speak with your San Francisco and Marin workers’ compensation lawyer on the very first day of your injury or when you are in a position to talk to them. This is because if you delay filing your claim, your compensation will also be on hold throughout this entire time.

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Coronavirus and Workers’ Compensation https://farnsworthattorney.com/coronavirus-and-workers-compensation/ Mon, 09 Mar 2020 07:51:05 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=488 The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated coronavirus a global health emergency. This viral and dangerous disease is spreading across the world and is in the US as well. Considering the risk to life as well as the severe economic impact of this virus, policyholders and the US insurance industry are both watching and considering [...]

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated coronavirus a global health emergency. This viral and dangerous disease is spreading across the world and is in the US as well. Considering the risk to life as well as the severe economic impact of this virus, policyholders and the US insurance industry are both watching and considering whether or not business interruptions, event cancellation, or liability and worker’s comp insurance benefits might be available while assessing their liability risks.
Are you wondering whether you are covered under California’s workers’ comp law if you contract coronavirus? The answer to this seemingly simple question can be yes, or no, depending on various factors, such as whether it is an occupational disease.
For example, you might be entitled to worker’s comp benefits in California, if coronavirus is deemed an occupational disease and you contracted it during the course of your work. You need an experienced workers’ comp attorney in California as they will help you establish that you contracted the disease during the performance of your job.
If you are a health professional, emergency, and safety worker or work in the airline industry, you might be at a heightened risk of contracting the virus.

What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a specific type of virus that may cause various illnesses, like the common cold, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). The newly identified type that has caused a recent outbreak of various respiratory illnesses is now known as COVID-19, and it started in China. As this virus is new, we do not know much about it yet. It is worth noting that public health groups, like WHO and the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are investigating the virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19

Some of the common COVID-19 symptoms include the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

Note that in some rare cases, COVID-19 may lead to extreme respiratory problems, kidney failure, and even death. If you are experiencing these symptoms, call a healthcare professional and get in touch with a Bay Area workers’ comp attorney.

What are Occupational Diseases?
We can define an occupational disease as a chronic disorder that is caused by work activities and environmental conditions within your workplace. An occupational disease can affect several parts of your body, like the lungs, bones, and muscles. Some common occupational diseases include the following:

  • Bronchitis
  • Asbestosis
  • Cancer
  • Lateral epicondylitis

Can Coronavirus be Deemed an Occupational Disease?
Most countries, including the US, have laws and regulations designed to protect employees or workers from physical harm at work. So, in the US, as an employee, you are protected under OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Act). So, if you get infected with this virus at work, in some cases, your employer may face penalties, and you can receive compensation benefits under California’s Workers’ Compensation Law.
Keep in mind that concluding that a specific illness is occupational, is peculiar to your work and eventually compensable isn’t necessarily based on the disease itself, but on the facts and circumstances surrounding your illness.

Here are some factors that medical professionals and courts investigate and consider to determine if an illness, such as coronavirus is an occupational disease:

  • The timing of the various symptoms, such as coughing. in relation to your work: Do these symptoms worsen when you come to work and improve if you take prolonged absences from work (such as on weekends)
  • Whether your co-workers and colleagues show or have experienced similar symptoms
  • Your predisposition to the illness (such as an allergy or any other medical issue)
  • The commonality or prevalence of that illness to employees in a particular industry. For example, workers in the travel and safety industry may be more likely to contract coronavirus
  • Your personal habits and personal medical history. Patients, for instance, in poor medical condition (smokers, overweight, and unrelated heart disease, etc.) or/and with poor family medical histories are usually more likely to contract an illness or disease than other people in similar circumstances. Note that bad habits, such as smoking and poor medical history, can cloud the relationship between your occupation and your illness.

There also remain several questions about how coronavirus spreads as well as the applicable timeframe between infection/exposure and the manifestation of various symptoms, which can complicate matters. This is why you need a competent attorney by your side at all times.
Steps to Take if you Think you have Contracted the Coronavirus
You should call ahead to a doctor or healthcare professional in case you develop a fever and various symptoms of respiratory illness, like cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, or headache, and have been in close contact with an individual known to have the virus.

While there are no vaccines available at the moment to protect against coronavirus, there are some steps you should take to help prevent infection:

  • Frequently wash your hands with water and soap for at least twenty seconds
  • Do not touch your eyes, mouth or nose
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
  • Frequently disinfect and clean objects and surfaces
  • Try to avoid close contact with individuals who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick

Get in Touch with the Farnsworth Law Group
If you or someone you know is infected with coronavirus and are not sure if you can file a claim against your employer, you should get in touch with the law office of Arjuna Farnsworth as soon as possible. Employers try their best to deny workers’ compensation claims. This is why you need an experienced and competent attorney in California who can defend your case and make sure you get the benefits you deserve under the law. We will assess your illness as well as the circumstances of your illness to better determine whether you are eligible for workers’ comp benefits in California.

You can call us at 415 -250-1044 or email us at arjuna@farnsworthattorney.com.

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How California’s AB5 Is a Boon to the Workers? https://farnsworthattorney.com/how-californias-ab5-is-a-boon-to-the-workers/ Wed, 04 Mar 2020 09:49:12 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=484 We have had fair amount of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families. While Workers Compensation Law is meant to protect the rights and interests of employees as experienced workers comp attorney we have seen employers and their insurers misuse the loopholes in the law to deny due compensation to their [...]

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We have had fair amount of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families. While Workers Compensation Law is meant to protect the rights and interests of employees as experienced workers comp attorney we have seen employers and their insurers misuse the loopholes in the law to deny due compensation to their injured workers. One of the loopholes most exploited by the employers was the misclassification of their employees. You may be shocked to know that vast majority of employees were classified as independent contractors thus denying them the rights to claim compensation and other benefits in the event of illness and injuries at work.

California’s AB5 which was adopted in September 2019 has thus come as a huge boon to hundreds of thousands of workers who now fall under the safety net of workers compensation. AB or Assembly Bill 5 which has come into effect from January 1, 2020 has made it extremely difficult for employers to misclassify their legit employees as independent workers. They can’t bypass the law anymore like they did in the past. Under the new law a person can be classified as an independent contractor if –

· He/she is free from control of the hiring company
· Performs work outside the normal course of business in the company hiring them
· Is independently established in the business, trade or occupation he/she performs with the company hiring them

Any worker who doesn’t quality any of the following criteria will have to be treated as an employee and has claims to workers’ compensation. This new legislation has also been welcomed by employers who have been abiding by the law and not exploiting the rules by misclassifying their employees. With this new legislation it will be extremely difficult for employers to misclassify genuine workforce as independent contractors. The benefits of this law aren’t restricted to workers compensation alone as employees would also benefit in terms of Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance Taxes.

While this misclassification of workers may have been due to lack of awareness among the employers as much as it was about exploiting the loopholes in the earlier 11-pointBorellostandard, the consequences of this misclassification on the workers was acute. Apart from workers compensation benefits independent contractors also didn’t have rights to minimum wage guarantee and overtime pay. Their tax and insurance obligations were also higher when compared to those classified as employees.

To put the benefits of this new legislation into perspective we must look at some startling stats. Over 90{ba1297414c305310634ceaacbc930b3ec0c2222b554b4377f4b115a3fab9e862} workers in California who were classified as independent contractors prior to this legislation don’t fall under any of the three categories that will now be used to define independent contractors. According to business audit conducted by Department of Labor over the last two decades it had been found that anywhere between 10{ba1297414c305310634ceaacbc930b3ec0c2222b554b4377f4b115a3fab9e862} and 30{ba1297414c305310634ceaacbc930b3ec0c2222b554b4377f4b115a3fab9e862} of the employers had misclassified their employees as independent contractors.

If you are your loved one has been wronged by your employer or their insurer in the aftermath of an injury or misclassified as an independent contractor you need to get in touch with us immediately. At Farnsworth Law Group we have more than a decade of experience in representing clients in their rights for compensation and benefits. As workers comp attorney we have made thousands of appearances in local courts on behalf of our clients. We believe California’s AB5 Legislation is a game changer that will benefit hundreds of thousands of employee and we are always willing to explain to you the benefits of this legislation when you come in for a free consultation.

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Presumptive Coverage for Cancer and Heart Conditions for Firefighters and Police Officers in California https://farnsworthattorney.com/presumptive-coverage-for-cancer-and-heart-conditions-for-firefighters-and-police-officers-in-california/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 21:21:36 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=480 Firefighters and police officers are at a higher risk for certain heart problems and cancer compared to the general public because of the stressful and dangerous nature of the jobs. This is why workers’ compensation law in California provides for a special heart and cancer presumption for certain police officers, firefighters and safety members. There [...]

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Firefighters and police officers are at a higher risk for certain heart problems and cancer compared to the general public because of the stressful and dangerous nature of the jobs. This is why workers’ compensation law in California provides for a special heart and cancer presumption for certain police officers, firefighters and safety members.

There is no doubt that firefighters and police officers in California put their lives on the line for us every day. Unfortunately, these people usually sustain injuries that tend to reflect this grave danger. The good news is that there are specific laws in the state to help protect our firefighters and safety officers which are known in California’s workers’ comp field as presumptions. For example, the cancer presumption in the law makes it easier and quicker for a person to establish that their cancer illness is actually work-related.  Once proved work-related, a policeman or firefighter can receive an entire array of benefits. Some of them include total temporary disability and medical care, etc.

Pertinent Stats

Did you know that police officers face a thirty to seventy times higher risk of death because of cardiac issues than the general public when these people are involved in stressful and dangerous situations? It is worth mentioning that the extreme heat, especially given the California Wildfires, which firefighters often face in their job duties, has now been associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. And that is not all; intense physical and emotional demands can also trigger blood clots as well as weaken blood vessel function.

Benefits of Presumptions

It is no secret that presumptions are very beneficial for police and firefighters in the state. The California workers’ comp law presumes that specific injuries and illnesses arise during the normal course of employment. It means that the injured person in California is eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Keep in mind that in other circumstances, an individual applying for worker’s compensation benefits in the state has to prove that their injury arose within the scope of employment. This is where our Marin County workers’ compensation attorney can help you.

Purpose of California Emergency Service Personnel Presumptions

Keep in mind that it was the main intent of the legislature in enacting this specific series of emergency service workers presumptions of industrial causation to offer additional workers’ comp benefits to specific employees in the state, such as firefighters and police officers, who provide “vital and hazardous services” to the general public.

Other presumptive injuries for firefighters and peace officers in California can include:

  • Low Back Injuries

  • Hernia

  • Pneumonia

  • Tuberculosis

  • Meningitis

  • MRSA

  • Bio-Chemical Exposure

Type of Cancers You Can Claim

It is worth noting that there has been significant litigation at the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board. Note that over the years, numerous cancers in California have been found to be presumptive. Note that some types of cancers that have been deemed presumptively industrial in California are as follows:

  • Appendiceal Cancer

  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

  • Brain Tumor (also called Pineal Blastoma)

  • Colon Cancer

  • Breast Cancer

  • Hodgkin’s Disease

  • Lung Cancer

  • Kidney Cancer

  • Lymphoma

  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

  • Multiple Myeloma

  • Pancreatic Cancer

  • Prostate Cancer

  • Stomach Cancer

  • Thyroid Cancer

  • Uterine Cancer

Labor Code 3212

California Labor Code 3212 is relevant for heart conditions. It provides for specific law enforcement providers, such as police, and safety providers, that heart trouble that develops or manifests itself in these cases should be presumed to arise in the course of and out of the employment. Keep in mind that this presumption is disputable. It can also be controverted by other evidence. However, unless that happens, the appeals board is, in most cases, bound to find in accordance with it. The law extends the presumption to a member after the termination of their service.

It is worth noting that this is for a period of 3 calendar months for every complete year of the requisite service; however, it should not exceed sixty months under any circumstances, starting with the previous date actually worked in that specific capacity.

Does your Position with your California Employer have the Heart Presumption?

This is an important question. Keep in mind that certain agencies in the state, while they’re law enforcement or safety, don’t apply this presumption. This is why you should check or verify that you actually have this presumption. A workers’ comp attorney in Marin County can be helpful in this regard. We have been helping individuals in Southern and Central California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for several years.

Note that even in case you don’t have this presumption, you can still file your case and pursue your heart injury or heart condition case to get the benefits. However, you have to keep in mind that there is one key difference and it is that you’ll carry the burden of proof rather than those who will benefit from this presumption.

Examples of Case Law Establishing Conditions where the Heart Presumption has Applied

Here’s a comprehensive list of some of the conditions and body parts where the presumption applies. However, you have to keep in mind that just because of the fact that this presumption applies doesn’t necessarily indicate that the presumption can’t be rebutted. You have to analyze any presumption case based on its own specific facts. This is where a workers’ comp attorney in Marin County can guide you.

Here are some examples.

  • Arrhythmias:  City of Huntington Beach vs.WCAB (2016) and Parish vs. WCAB (1989).

  • Scarring because of Rheumatic Fever and atherosclerosis of the Coronary Artery Valvular Lesions: State Employees’ Retirement System vs. W.C.A.B., 267 Cal.App.2d 611

  • Coronary Artery Disease or Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease: Gillette vs. W.C.A.B. 20 Cal.App.3d 312; Turner vs. W.C.A.B. 258 Cal.App.2d 442 and Bussa v. W.C.A.B., 259 Cal.App.2d 261.

  • Acute or Chronic Arteriosclerotic Occlusive Disease present in the iliac arteries: Stephens vs. W.C.A.B. 20 Cal.App.3d 461

  • Arteriosclerosis that manifests or develops in heart arteries: Kimber vs. The city of LA

  • Atrial Flutter: City of Huntington Beach vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (2016)

  • Cardiomyopathy: County and City of San Francisco vs. WCAB (1997)

Keep in mind that just because the heart attack presumption is applicable it doesn’t mean that the self-insured employer or insurer will admit your injury. In many presumption cases in California, unfortunately, insurers usually pretend that the presumption doesn’t exist and tend to deny your claim outright. And then they look for various reasons to rebut this presumption. The good news is that with all the right medical reports that support causation, you can establish these claims and receive the compensation you need and deserve. And we can help you with that.

Duty Belt Presumption

It is worth noting that there’s also a presumption that police officers who have to wear a duty belt and subsequently suffer from lumbar and back issues had their medical condition triggered by work. However, note that there are a few eligibility requirements, like full employment for 5 years prior to applying for your benefits, which you have to meet.

Take Full Advantage of the Special Rules that Protect Firefighters

If you are a firefighter or policeman, you can take full advantage of special workers’ comp benefits for California public workers. Keep in mind that insurance companies in the state are well aware of these benefits when you decide to file a claim for California worker’s compensation benefits and also complete all the necessary workers’ compensation forms. They will also notify you that you are eligible for these benefits. However, note that being aware of all your rights as a California policeman or firefighter is crucial to receive all the benefits you need and deserve.

Contact the Law Offices of Arjuna Farnsworth

If you are a firefighter, police officer, or law enforcement officer in California who has been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, contact California’s workers’ compensation lawyer Arjuna right now for a free evaluation of your legal rights. Arjuna represents police officers and firefighters in presumption cases across California and has received top dollar workers’ comp settlements for injured employees.

As a safety officer in California who has sustained injuries, it’s vital that you protect all your rights and we are here to help you. You should also get the proper medical treatment as it will help you resume work. After working closely with many firefighters and policemen in California, we know and understand how much most of them love their jobs. This is why getting back to the job is a top priority for them. However, we also recognize that when getting back to your job isn’t a possibility or maybe the time has come for retirement, then maximizing your benefits is one of the top priorities.
If you’re a police officer or firefighter who was injured on the job, contact us at 415 -250-1044 for a free consultation, or you can fill out your claim evaluation form at Farnsworth Law Firm and Attorney Arjuna H. Farnsworth will call you within 24 hours in order to discuss the case for free. We will help you determine the best course of action for your case.

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Apportionment in California Workers’ Compensation Claims https://farnsworthattorney.com/apportionment-in-california-workers-compensation-claims/ Wed, 04 Dec 2019 08:36:45 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=475 In California, most people who sustain an injury at work and also have a preexisting condition often face trouble receiving their California workers' comp benefits. If you are one of those people, then a work injury lawyer Bay Area can help you. What is Apportionment? The term apportionment applies when an employee has multiple injuries, and [...]

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In California, most people who sustain an injury at work and also have a preexisting condition often face trouble receiving their California workers’ comp benefits. If you are one of those people, then a work injury lawyer Bay Area can help you.

What is Apportionment?

The term apportionment applies when an employee has multiple injuries, and some of these injuries may be pre-existing or not related to a workplace injury in California. In this case, a panel of board members is responsible for determining which of the injuries your California employer might be responsible for. Apportionment in California workers’ comp is the process used to determine the specific portion or percentage of your injuries that are deemed either work related or non-work related. In simple words, apportionment separates an injured employee’s work permanent disability because of work from a disability that arises from a source outside of work.

Unfortunately, when an injured employee applies to the California workers comp carrier, the claim is quickly denied. It is worth noting that this may happen when a preexisting medical condition to the same part of the body exists due to any kind of prior accident, such as a slip and fall. It can be a prior workplace injury or perhaps an injury from an earlier slip and fall or auto accident at the employee’s home. So, apportionment in regards to California workers’ comp tends to split up the specific causes of an injured employee’s permanent disability.

Note that apportionment will reduce a California injured employee’s permanent work disability, which, in turn, reduces the monetary value of her or his claim. However, keep in mind that only under specific situations, your employer is allowed to “apportion” workers’ compensation benefits from your existing injury to a past injury. This is why to protect your rights, you should hire a workers’ comp attorney San Francisco as they are familiar with these issues.

Preexisting Conditions

A pre-existing condition may be a:

  • non-work-related injury
  • non-work-related medical condition
  • previous work injury

It is worth noting that successive injuries often pose a number of different problems under California workers’ compensation as any 2 disabilities combined typically result in a more severe disability classification for a worker than if each disability were separately classified and the employee received comp benefits for each injury individually.

Successive injuries, in other words, have synergetic effects on California workers’ compensation benefits. For instance, a lost eye will often result in a partial permanent disability classification with an accompanying award.

Keep in mind that for a disabled employee who is already missing their eye (i.e., suffering from a preexisting medical condition), however, the loss of the second eye (called the second injury) will usually lead to a total disability classification with a considerably higher award compared to either the preexisting medical condition or the second work injury by itself.

Note that there’s also apportionment when an injured employee has two or more than two workplace injuries at the same time. In this case, each injury you sustain is usually given a separate percentage value. And this often has a lower monetary value than if your injuries are combined.

Role of Medical Experts in Determination

Deciding the specific percentage or portion to apportion against a prior medical condition is often a medical issue. It is worth noting that the insurance carriers in San Francisco usually hire independent medical consultants in order to review extensive medical evidence and records and provide formal opinions, dividing monetary liability between multiple accidents, incidents, or medical conditions. Their main aim is to lower the amount you will receive.

It is important to stress that medical evidence and records are an important factor when it comes to determining apportionment in California, just like any other state. A doctor’s ability to compare and analyze medical records from various time periods is likely to show changes in a particular medical condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, the comparison of diagnostic tests, such as MRIs, over time may help determine apportionment.

Note that any doctor or medical expert who issues a medical report about permanent disability has to address the main cause of the disability. And part of causation involves determining apportionment.

Also, the doctor has to:

  • state that she or he is familiar with apportionment in California workers’ comp
  • describe the precise nature of the apportionment, and
  • present a valid basis for an opinion

In addition, the doctor has to answer the following questions:

Insurance carriers in California will often try to raise apportionment even in case your prior medical condition was comparatively minor. This is why you should have a San Francisco workers compensation attorney by your side.

Pre-existing Conditions that aren’t Apportioned

Apportionment is often a very complex concept in California workers’ comp law, and so it usually leaves many individuals confused about the payments and benefits they might be able to receive under the law. Note that a worker may experience lighting up of a pre-existing medical condition that won’t have any apportionment under the law if it wasn’t disabling.

For example, an employer hires a worker in her or his current condition. Note that if a worker is more fragile, then their employer is still responsible for any work injury. And it’s not a valid defense to claim that it wouldn’t happen to a healthier or stronger employee. If you suspect that your employer may use this tactic, you should get in touch with a San Francisco workers compensation lawyer right away to fight for your rights and help you receive the compensation you need and deserve.

However, it is worth noting that the employer isn’t held liable for the natural progression of your pre-existing medical condition.

Temporary Total Disability is non-apportionable

Apportionment and Future Medical Care

This is another important issue. Note that even if there’s apportionment pertaining to a non-workplace-related condition, there’s no apportionment of the medical care. It is important that you should know your rights. The insurance company or your employer has to pay for all medical care that is necessary to treat your injury. However, injured workers do not have any deductibles or co-pays. The good news is that if you are an injured employee and need significant medical treatment, you can get it through California workers’ compensation even if the majority of your injury isn’t work-related.

Know Your Rights

Many workers’ compensation insurance companies in California usually deny compensation claims where preexisting injuries or conditions exist. Keep in mind that when these comp claims aren’t denied, the insurance provider will claim that your injury was mainly because of your preexisting condition and may tell you that your claim is worth very little. This is why you should hire Bay Area workers compensation attorneys to protect your rights.

And at other times, the insurance company’s doctor may quickly apportion your entire injury to a preexisting condition on your first visit to the clinic even when a fair and reasonable medical evaluation would find some fair apportionment to your current workplace injury. It is a common practice. In these cases, it is vital that the injured employee not be fooled and short-changed on his or her benefits by this kind of behavior by the employer’s insurance carrier. Bay Area workers’ compensation attorneys are well versed with these tactics and will help you mount a solid claim to get the benefits you need and deserve.

You should seek the competent advice of a worker’s comp lawyer in San Francisco. You should get the advice you need from Farnsworth Law Firm to know all your rights and how to recover from your legitimate workplace injury, regardless of any preexisting condition(s) to the same body part or parts.

California Workers’ Compensation – Importance of Apportionment

Keep in mind that apportionment could have a considerable impact on the value of your case. This is why an insurance company in California that isn’t able to dispute your injury will often spend a considerable period of time and resources looking for apportionment of permanent disability in order to reduce the monetary value of your claim.

Call Farnsworth Law Firm

Attorney Arjuna H. Farnsworth knows all about apportionment and various apportionment issues and the way California workers’ compensation law applies to different cases. This is why when you hire Farnsworth Law Firm, you’ll no longer be hassled or pushed around by insurance agents who care little about you or your work injury. Instead, you’ll have a competent lawyer by your side that will fight for all of the workers’ compensation benefits in California to which you’re entitled. Our firm helps firefighters, police officers, and other workers get adequate compensation for their work-related injuries in California. An experienced and competent lawyer can assist you with gathering and presenting the relevant medical evidence in a helpful light.

Call us at 415 -250-1044 for a free consultation, or you can fill out your claim evaluation form at Farnsworth Law Firmand Attorney Arjuna H. Farnsworth will call you within 24 hours in order to discuss the case for free.

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Here’s Your Guide to Finding the Best Workers Compensation Attorney Near You https://farnsworthattorney.com/heres-your-guide-to-finding-the-best-workers-compensation-attorney-near-you/ Fri, 08 Nov 2019 16:29:05 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=471 The minimum that injured workers and their families need when filing workers compensation claims is a good attorney by their side. Stats show that the success rate in workers compensation claim has a direct correlation to the stature and expertise of the attorneys. Good attorneys can be the difference between being adequately compensated for your [...]

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The minimum that injured workers and their families need when filing workers compensation claims is a good attorney by their side. Stats show that the success rate in workers compensation claim has a direct correlation to the stature and expertise of the attorneys. Good attorneys can be the difference between being adequately compensated for your injuries or having to accept bare minimum being offered by your employers’ insurer. Representing your own case or hiring a friend who is an attorney is a path that you need to avoid walking. The success of your claim process depends on how cautious you are in hiring a top-rated attorney.

If you have searched for “workers compensation attorney near me” you are likely to have come across hundreds of results. It is easy for you to get into dilemma and start looking for clues that allow you to find the best person to represent your case. As it is often said choosing the right attorney to represent you in your fight for compensation and other benefits isn’t the easiest of tasks in this world. Let’s make it slightly easier for you with this brief guide that will help you make the right choice.

Workers Compensation Attorney Near Me Need Not be Next Door
You are looking for an attorney and not a grocery store or a gas station. ‘Near me’ need not be the most important criteria for search. Google search may offer results based on your location. The search attributes that serve you well when you are looking for a pizza store or a gas station may not be the best when you are looking for an attorney. The aim here is to find the best attorney and not the one next door. Hence you shouldn’t limit your search to nearby communities alone and look for attorneys who are rated by their peers and have a long history of successfully defending the rights of their clients.

Ask for References
If you know a colleague or anyone else among your acquaintances who has successfully claimed workers’ compensation with the help of an attorney you can ask for references. This is often the best way to find the best workers compensation lawyer. You will have first-hand knowledge about the success of the attorney and would also get to know how they support their clients. You need a lawyer who not only fights your legal battle but also treats you with respect and lifts up your spirits.

Specialists in Workers’ Compensation
There are several attorneys and law firms that deal with Workers’ Compensation Law as a part of their larger bouquet of services. While there is no rule that say they aren’t professional when it comes to dealing with work injury cases it is advisable that you choose attorneys who specialize in this field. The logic behind this argument is to hire a firm that only deals with an area of law that concerns you and not end up hiring attorneys from a firm that is looking to expand its market and may have only dealt with few workers’ compensation claims in the past.

Highly Rated By Peers
There is no better way to judge the professional competence of attorneys than to look at how they have been rated by their peers. There are several things that others lawyers would take into account while rating one of their colleagues and this includes everything from knowledge and skills to the kind of outcome that the lawyers have been able to achieve in the past. There are independent platforms that let you review the peer ratings of the attorneys and you should use them before you zero in on an attorney.

When you keep these things in mind you will be able to find the best workers’ compensation attorney near you. While workers’ compensation is aimed at benefit-ting employees injured at workplace insurance companies leave no stone unturned to reduce the compensation amount or deny it completely. You can’t do without a good attorney and when it comes to choosing one nearby you should keep the above things in mind and approach the whole process cautiously.

Summary – In this write-up we discuss some of the things that need to be kept in mind when looking for workers compensation attorney nearby.

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When You Can and When You Can’t Do Without A Workers Compensation Attorney? https://farnsworthattorney.com/when-you-can-and-when-you-cant-do-without-a-workers-compensation-attorney/ Wed, 23 Oct 2019 08:35:23 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=465 As you Google “workers compensation attorney near me” you are likely to be in a dilemma – should you hire a workers comp attorney or can you file the claim by yourself. Based on the research you have done on the Internet you’d come across conflicting information. Some would say you can’t do without an [...]

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As you Google “workers compensation attorney near me” you are likely to be in a dilemma – should you hire a workers comp attorney or can you file the claim by yourself. Based on the research you have done on the Internet you’d come across conflicting information. Some would say you can’t do without an attorney while there are several stories of people having earned compensation and benefits all by themselves. What should you do amidst such contradicting information? Let us now look at scenarios when you can file the claim yourself and scenarios when you need to seek help from an attorney.

When You Can Attempt to Represent Yourself.
While it is always advisable to seek legal help when you have suffered an injury at workplace. Here are some scenarios where you can attempt to represent yourself in an injury case –

  • The injury you suffered is minor such as a cut or a twisted ankle and it isn’t likely to have any long term consequence on your life

  • You have been able to resume work without any hindrance

  • You haven’t missed many days of work and wage losses due to the injury has been negligible

  • Your employer has cooperated with you since your injury and is likely to help you apply for compensation with the insurer

  • You suffered a minor workplace injury, such as a twisted ankle or a cut requiring a few stitches.

  • You didn’t suffer injury to a part of the body that has a pre-existing medical condition or you have contracted an illness that can lead to serious problems in the future.

When Should You Get in Touch With An Attorney?
If there is slightest of complexities with respect to your situation you should immediately get in touch with an attorney to offer you legal guidance and representation. Here are the scenarios where you need a top-rated attorney to represent you –

  • Your injury is serious and would require medication, therapies and rehabilitation for a long period of time

  • You have missed several days at work and have had to bear wage losses for an extended period

  • Your injury or illness prevents you from working in the same role prior to your injury/illness

  • Your physical movements have been restricted severely due to the injury

  • Your employer has refused to cover all your medical bills and wage losses

To sum up, the decision of hiring an attorney or representing yourself should be based upon the exact nature and serious nature of the injury. You can follow the above guide to choose the right path. However if you have the slightest doubt in your mind regarding filing the claim you should immediately get in touch with an attorney.

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Why You Must Walk The Extra Mile To Hire A Work Injury Lawyer in Marin County? https://farnsworthattorney.com/why-you-must-walk-the-extra-mile-to-hire-a-work-injury-lawyer-in-marin-county/ Sat, 05 Oct 2019 06:48:37 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=461 Workplace injuries are a common occurrence. A major injury can jeopardize your life and that of your close ones. Everything from your finances to education of your kids may be affected in the event of a serious injury. Workers Compensation Law is meant to safeguard the interests of the workers in the event of workplace [...]

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Workplace injuries are a common occurrence. A major injury can jeopardize your life and that of your close ones. Everything from your finances to education of your kids may be affected in the event of a serious injury. Workers Compensation Law is meant to safeguard the interests of the workers in the event of workplace injury and illness. However in most cases you’d be at the mercy of your employer’s insurer in your bid to earn due compensation and benefits.

If you find yourself in such an unwelcome scenario you should have no hesitation in knocking the doors of a work injury lawyer in Marin County. However you must make sure you choose an attorney who brings in strong reputation in successfully defending the rights of his/her clients. If required walk the extra mile and consult few attorneys before hiring one to represent you. Here are some reasons why you must be extremely choosy while hiring an attorney.

Experience in handling compensation cases…
There is no substitute to experience and there are perhaps few other professions where experience counts as much as in the field of law. Top rated attorneys would have handled hundreds of injury cases like yours in the past. This knowledge is very important as it helps them ascertain maximum compensation and benefits with respect to your case. They would use this experience to defend your rights assertively and make sure you are well compensated.

They bring in methodical approach…
Representation in workers comp case requires methodical approach and multi-disciplinary expertise. From working closely with medical experts to managing the paperwork a seasoned attorney will approach the whole case in a methodical way. They will keep you updated on the progress of your claim at every stage and not force you to run from pillar to post while fighting the legal battle.
Insurers take note of reputation…
You may be surprised to hear this but your employer’s insurer would take note of the reputation your attorney has. Whenever they come against a reputable work injury lawyer in Marin County they are likely to seek for a settlement. In such instances a seasoned lawyer would ensure that you get maximum compensation for your injury. On the other hand if you are being represented by an average Joe they would push the claim to trial where your odds of success are limited.

To sum up it is a good idea to walk the extra mile and hire a seasoned work injury lawyer in Marin County to fight your work injury case.

Summary – In this write-up we share some reasons why one should walk the extra mile to hire a seasoned work injury lawyer in Marin County to fight for compensation.

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5 Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries https://farnsworthattorney.com/5-common-workers-compensation-injuries/ Thu, 03 Oct 2019 07:18:55 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=457 You don’t leave for work in the morning expecting to get injured or hurt. Unfortunately, the reality is that many employees will sustain a work-related injury at least once in their career. Workplace injuries are the worst for many reasons. You do not only have to deal with the physical consequences of your injury, but you are [...]

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You don’t leave for work in the morning expecting to get injured or hurt. Unfortunately, the reality is that many employees will sustain a work-related injury at least once in their career.

Workplace injuries are the worst for many reasons. You do not only have to deal with the physical consequences of your injury, but you are also likely to face serious financial strain as you may not be able to earn a living while you recuperate. This can be a cause of concern for most people.

People usually don’t realize the risk of occupational illness or job-related injury they face every time they head to work. Some workers may understand that certain jobs, such as construction work, truck driving, and factory work, can be dangerous. They may, however, not know that other industries, like office work, health care, retail and fast-food jobs, and teaching, can be just as dangerous.

OSHArevealed that the top 4 most common work-related accidents on construction sites include falls, accounting for 40{ba1297414c305310634ceaacbc930b3ec0c2222b554b4377f4b115a3fab9e862} of all lethal construction accidents.

Fortunately, you may be entitled to receiveworkers’ compensation benefitsfor your medical bills as well as lost wages if you sustain a work injury in California and a work injury attorney Marin County CA can help you in this regard.

California workers’ comp claims are filed for several reasons. It is worth mentioning that different types of workplace injuries might trigger claims for different type of benefits in California. From construction sites and restaurant kitchens to hospital rooms and office buildings, most workplaces are full of occupational hazards. This is why even the most cautious workers in California can get struck by an object or be the victim of a slip and fall accident and sustain a serious work injury.

Although accidents can happen to anybody at any time, it is important to know what the most common workers’ compensation injuries are since it can help you avoid them.

  1. Overexertion

Overexertion is usually rated as the most common work injury employees sustain. It’s a nonimpact injury triggered by too strenuously pulling, lifting, pushing, wielding, turning, holding, throwing or carrying objects. So, that is almost any physical activity that involves muscle and motion.

These injuries may lead to debilitating pain, physical therapy, steep medical bills, and missed time at work. Sometimes, you’ll experience one of these injuries when you lift something too heavy, and others are usually from repetitive motion and tend to occur over time.

Laborers and materials handlers, nursing aides and orderlies, and paramedics and emergency medical technicians are most likely to experience overexertion injuries. And the reason is simple; lifting is the main part of their jobs.

You should try to watch out for the symptoms and signs of overexertion in the workplace as your work injury can worsen over time and require extensive medical treatment if you fail to catch it early on.

Work injury attorney San Rafael CA,understands the high costs that job-related injuries can cause in your life and would like to help you in case you have injured yourself because of overexertion.At the Farnsworth Law Group, we care and want to know about your case to help you every step of the way.

  1. Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and falls are one of the leading causes of work-related injuries, which are covered by California workers’ compensation.

When machine lubricants, debris, and spilled food and drinks aren’t cleaned up properly, or flooring is wet or not maintained, California workers are likely to slip, trip and fall while on their jobs. Unfortunately, something that seems so simple may have grave ramifications for people who are injured, including knee injuries, broken bones, spinal injuries and sprained or torn ligaments.

It is worth mentioning that slips and falls accidents can occur in almost any work environment, and they are usually caused by wet or slippery floors.

Sometimes, the injury is not caused by the fall itself; rather, it is from what was done in order to prevent the fall. Bruised shoulders and sprained wrists are possible results. The best way to prevent these injuries is to minimize the risks of slips and falls in the workplace. As falls and slips are common causes of work injuries in California, your slip and fall accident may entitle you to pursue a workers’ comp claim, depending on the specific circumstances of your accident.

Having a knowledgeable advocate on your side—such as a skilledwork injury attorney Bay Area—can make the legal battle for your rightssimpler and easier.

  1. Struck by an Object

These injuries are very common and can occur in any workplace. An employee can be struck or collide with a heavy object on many types of job sites, such as office buildings and construction sites. Note that an item or object can fall off a scaffolding or shelf and cause a spinal cord injury, fracture, or even death in some cases.

Also, workers may be physically forced into something, like a barricade, bookshelf, or other stationary object. According to OSHA, colliding with or being struck by an object is the second leading cause of construction-related deaths.

Falling object work injuries can be caused by any one or more of the following reasons:

  • Heavy files, stationery, books or computer equipment that has fallen from a shelf
  • Falling materials, tools, and debris falling from heights on a construction or building site
  • Projectiles ejected from heavy machinery
  • Fixtures falling from a ceiling or wall
  • The sudden collapse of an unstable bench, shelf, or mezzanine floor

At the Farnsworth Law Group, our priority is to make sure that you have competent, experienced legal representation to get the workers’ compensation benefitsyou deserve.

  1. Vehicle Accidents

If you travel on business or work as a truck driver, you are at risk while on the clock. Vehicle crashes can happen when employees are driving company vehicles, such as trucks, cars, vans, tractors, forklifts, and other heavy machinery, with deadly consequences for the workers.

If you sustained injuries in a car accident while driving or riding in a vehicle for work-related reasons away from the workplace, then you might also be covered by California workers’ compensation — for instance, if you’re:

  • Making deliveries
  • Running an errand for your employer or boss
  • Transporting your colleague or another employee

Also, note that highway accidents often most impact those who drive for a living, such as delivery drivers, police officers, and semi-truck drivers. However, anyone driving for work-related tasks is eligible to file a highway accident claim in the state.

If you are injured in a vehicle accident caused while driving for work, then your employer will often be required to pay for any costs that are associated with your work injuries, regardless of the person at fault for the auto accident, as part of California workers’ compensation. This can cover expenses, like medical bills and your lost wages.

If you were injured in a car crash while you’re driving for work, it is important that you speak with a competent and experienced work injury lawyer Marin County at once to get the benefits you deserve. 

  1. Repetitive Strain Injury

Some work-related injuries tend to develop over time. Repetitive strain injuries include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bursitis. They often result from performing the same motion repeatedly. Repetitive motion can result in neck, shoulder, arm, and wrist injuries as well as problems with vision.

Carpel tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow are usually the most common overuse injury that workers experience. Overuse injuries can affect desk workers, assembly workers, and any worker who performs the same thing over and over again.

There are actually more than 100 types of repetitive strain injuries that workers can develop, affecting various parts and structures of the body. Note that some other common types of repetitive strain injuries workers can develop include:

These types of injuries are often the hardest to prove. However, if you report your symptoms as early as they begin and can successfully connect them to a work task, you will be able to make a legitimate case for California worker’s compensation.

If your employer is disputing your legal right to get paid medical treatment for a repetitive motion injury in California, an experiencedwork injury lawyer San Rafaelcan help you in pursuing a claim in California.

Final Thoughts

You are probably feeling overwhelmed, confused, and unsure of what to do if you have sustained a workplace injury.

At the Law Office of Arjuna Farnsworth, we consider it our privilege and duty to help injured California employees navigate the complicated workers’ compensation system so they can receive the benefits they need to recover –physically as well as financially.

Do not hesitate to get useful legal advice on all your rightsafter your workplace injury. The road to recovery following a workplace accident or injury can be a long one, but you do not have to do it alone.

Just call us or contact us online for your claim review and advice regarding your legal rights.

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How WCAB’s En Banc Decision Can Help Californian Workers https://farnsworthattorney.com/how-wcabs-en-banc-decision-can-help-californian-workers/ Tue, 03 Sep 2019 19:18:07 +0000 https://farnsworthattorney.com/?p=444 In California, determining whether a worker sustained a ‘catastrophic injury’ is tricky. This is mainly because the phrase “catastrophic injury” is vague and ambiguous as used in section 4660.1(c)(2)(B) of the labor code. Practitioners have, since 2012, wrestled with the exact meaning of the phrase “catastrophic injury” as used in the Labor Code section 4660.1(c)(2)(B). WCAB’s [...]

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In California, determining whether a worker sustained a ‘catastrophic injury’ is tricky. This is mainly because the phrase “catastrophic injury” is vague and ambiguous as used in section 4660.1(c)(2)(B) of the labor code. Practitioners have, since 2012, wrestled with the exact meaning of the phrase “catastrophic injury” as used in the Labor Code section 4660.1(c)(2)(B).

WCAB’s Clarification

However, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Boardclarified in an en banc decisionthat whether a worker, like a firefighter, can seek a higher impairment rating for their psychiatric injuriesdepends on multiple factors. Some of these factors include the severity of the injury, its impact on daily activities as well as the extent of treatment required to minimize the effects of the injury.

The court also stated that the determination requires a “fact-driven” inquiry. It is worth mentioning that a fact-driven analysis to determine whether an injury is catastrophic is likely to encounter a range of circumstances that are beyond the statutorily-specified injuries that are covered under section 4660.1(c)(2)(B).

Wilson vs. the State of California

In Wilson vs. State of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 2019, the Court ruled on the specific case that Mr. Wilson had, in fact, suffered a catastrophic injury under the law.

Mr. Kris Wilson, a firefighter in the Department of Forestry, sustained an industrial injury in May 2014 while he was reporting to a wildfire in Lompoc. Mr. Wilson was assigned to the drainage area. As he wasn’t wearing a breathing apparatus, he inhaled smoke and fumes from the fire. Here are some other common workplace injuriesthat workers sustain.

Mr. Wilson decided to claim injuries to his psych, lungs, left eye, brain, head, heart, as well as circulatory system after being admitted to Sierra Vista Hospital in San Luis Obispo. In addition to neurological, pulmonary, and visual effects he suffered from major depression and PTSD as well.

In May 2014, the Department of Forestry conceded liability for injuries Mr. Kris Wilson sustained to his psyche, lungs, left eye, brain, head, heart, and circulatory system.

At the hospital, he was examined by PQMEs (Panel Qualified Medical Evaluators) in many specialties, which included a psychological PQME. This psychological PQME, in his report, indicated Mr. Wilson’s clear description of the trauma that surrounded his hospitalization after his injury. After his evaluation, he diagnosed Mr. Kris Wilson with a psychiatric disorder.

According to the report, Mr. Wilson believes that he has a grave physical injury that has the potential to shorten his life, kill him, or even send him back to a hospital. He also has a clear memory of waking up repeatedly while he was under intubation at the hospital.

At the initial trial, the main issue under dispute was that whether Mr. Kris Wilson was entitled to receive indemnity and damages for his psychiatric injury that he claimed were the result of his physical injury that was sustained while reporting to the Lompoc wildfire.

During his trial, Mr. Wilson claimed that this psychiatric injury met the criteria of one of the exceptions in section 4660.1(c)(2) of California Labor Code, especially a catastrophic injury that should increase his permanent disability rating (overall) under the law because of the compensable consequence injury he sustained to his psyche. According to the WCJ, under the statute Mr. Wilson failed to meet the exception clause for a catastrophic work injury. See why your workers’ comp claim may be denied.

Reconsideration

In March 2018, the WCAB granted reconsideration in order to study both the legal and factual issues in this case.

The WCAB disagreed with the WCJ’s verdict and held that Mr. Kris Wilson suffered a catastrophic injury under section 4660.1(c)(2)(B) of the labor code. He is, therefore, entitled to receive permanent disability for his psychiatric injury.

Section 4660.1(c)(2) of the California Labor Code permits a higher impairment rating if the psychiatric injury arose from a catastrophic injury. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board supported its conclusion with an analysis of section 4660.1(c). If a worker’s psychiatric injury is a consequence of their physical injury, the language in the statute indicates that the psychiatric injury has to arise from a catastrophic injury for the worker to get an increased rating for his or her psychiatric injury.

Legislative Intent

The board explained that in enacting section 4660.1(c), the intention of the Legislature was to restrict additional impairment for “questionable disability claims alleged to be triggered by a physical injury.” This was achieved by precluding increased impairment for so-called add-ons, like sexual dysfunction, sleep dysfunction, or a psychiatric disorder arising due to a compensable physical injury. These add-ons were used by some attorneys in order to overcome lower permanent disability ratings arising from 2004 reforms, as per the WCAB’s analysis.

And note that during the 2012 session a close analysis of the measure that was prepared for lawmakers stated that as benefit levels are being significantly increased by the reform bill, many are of the view that these add-ons, which produce considerable litigation expense, are not needed anymore. Learn more about the workers’ compensation claims process in California.

Exceptions

The board highlighted that the legislature provides 2 important exceptions to allow for additional impairment. These exceptions cover victims of:

  • direct exposure to a violent act and
  • a catastrophic injury

Then, the issue under consideration was whether the injury sustained by Mr. Wilson was covered by the “catastrophic” exception to the limitations on psyche personal disability add-ons. The board opined that this reflects that the inquiry into whether or not a worker’s injury is catastrophic is restricted to looking solely at their physical injury, disregarding the psychiatric injury in assessing the nature of the physical injury. Therefore, the injury must be considered catastrophic regardless of the psychiatric injury.

What does this mean?

Do not expect to find a simple or explicit definition of a “catastrophic injury” in the WCAB’s erudite and meticulous decision. However, what you’ll find is a comprehensive road-map or framework to make that determination. Ultimately, we can say that the issue of whether an injury is “catastrophic” would be determined by the relevant workers’ compensation judge handling the case.

To help make this decision some factors should be considered by the judge. The WCAB specifies that these factors include, but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Seriousness and intensity of treatment that is provided to the worker in order to relieve or cure the effects of the injury
  • Whether the worker’s physical injury is a progressive and incurable disease.
  • The final outcome when the injury was stationary and permanent
  • The severity or gravity of the physical injury as well as its impact on the employee’s ability to adequately carry out activities of daily living
  • Whether or not the employee’s injury is closely analogous to paralysis, loss of a limb, severe burns and severe head injuries

According to the en banc, not all of the above factors may be pertinent in each and every case. It is also worth mentioning that an employee does not have to prove that all of the factors are applicable in order to establish a “catastrophic injury.”

Why was Mr. KrisWilson’s Injury Deemed Catastrophic?

This is the key question that we have to address. There was a slew of different factors in Mr. Kris Wilson’s case, which made it catastrophic. We will discuss them. Firstly, his initial treatment at the hospital was life-threatening and serious. For example, his treatment entailed hospitalization as well as a medically-induced coma. See the benefits of filing your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible.

Absent the psychiatric disability, according to WCJ, he rated out to 66{ba1297414c305310634ceaacbc930b3ec0c2222b554b4377f4b115a3fab9e862} permanent disability.  This means that his physical injury alone caused a permanent disability rating of 66 percent, according to the board. Medical reports also indicate that Mr. Wilson has persistent shortness of breath, fatigue, and difficulty walking long distances. This left him with significant medical complications that considerably impacted his ability to carry out ADLs (Activities of Daily Living.)

Lastly, his injury essentially terminated his career at an extremely young age of 28. Therefore, the evidence establishes that the intensive treatment, coupled with the lasting impact and consequences of the injury on Mr. Wilson, have resulted in a catastrophic injury.

Going Forward

It is worth mentioning that the broadness and flexibility of the factor analysis used by the board in the Wilson decision indicates that we can anticipate an increase in the number of claims of permanent disability under section 4660.1 (c)(2) of the labor code arising from compensable injuries within the catastrophic injuries exception and increased litigation.

It is also expected that this broad analytical framework designed by the board will become as helpful and common in determining whether or not the nature of a physical injury can be characterized as a “catastrophic injury” as the Rolda analysisis in determining causation of an alleged psychiatric injury.

Final Thoughts

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board has helped clarify a muddied and vague definition of what precisely constitutes catastrophic injury. This is a decision most practitioners claim could make it much simpler for workers in California to receive workers’ compensation benefits for various psychiatric disorders.

 

 

 

 

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