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Los Angeles Employer Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Injured worker claim and firefighting in California

Both regular employed and volunteer firefighters in California are often provided with technical rescue training in the event of a specific situation while in the field in an attempt to lower the risk of an injured worker claim. Although these situations are not common, they can occur and may place a firefighter or rescue worker in a high risk or hazardous situation. Correct training can make the difference in saving lives and preventing an injured worker claim.

Sometimes a rescue worker may be required to enter a confined space in order to help someone. These spaces may be difficult to enter and exit and are not meant to be occupied for an extended amount of time. Potential entrapment or asphyxiation may cause serious work injury to a firefighter or result in a tragic fatality.

California school district may look to an employer defense

When a large group of employees is accidentally exposed to a dangerous chemical, an employer defense may be established to help prevent detrimental financial damage. A total of three California schools were recently closed after asbestos fibers and dust were said to have been found inside some of the buildings. The decision came after a heated discussion and vote among the school board that addressed the potential closing of 11 schools that had been under construction during the summer months. The school district may consider an employer defense in the event that the faculty and other workers fall ill.

Professionals discovered after school was back in session that asbestos dust may be present as a result of the renovations. A district representative contacted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with concerns regarding the exposure, which prompted an investigation. The toxic compound was suspected to be underneath tiles on the ceilings of some of the classrooms, which had been drilled through and disturbed.

Increased workers' compensation fraud in Los Angeles

Working as a police officer or firefighter in Los Angeles can place a person at a higher risk for work related injury. The generous benefits provided when a person is placed on leave may contribute to an overwhelming number of potential workers' compensation fraud that may exist among public servants. An employer that suspects workers' compensation fraud may question the validity of an injury and begin an investigation.

A study found that public employees that work in safety have experienced an increase in salary, leave time for work injury and the length of time required for leave. In the past year a total of 19 percent of public servant employees in Los Angeles were placed on temporary leave for a work related injury. Reports suggest that many of the hurt employees would file claims for a new injury just as their leave was expiring.

Officer accused of fraudulent workers' compensation claims

Submitting fraudulent workers' compensation claims can harm a private or public business and may place them in a difficult financial situation. A man employed as a juvenile detention officer in California was recently charged for submitting potentially fraudulent workers' compensation claims. Records show that the District Attorney's office will be pursuing action against the accused man.

The officer originally claimed that he injured his elbow while working in the detention center and required temporary leave for disability.  While collecting workers' compensation benefits, the accused man purportedly denied working or earning wages at his personal landscaping business. However, an investigation found that the officer may have been working and collecting income from the landscaping venture while receiving workers' comp benefits.

Officer accused of fraudulent workers' compensation claims

Fraudulent workers' compensation claims can be financially damaging to county offices and other businesses through increased premiums and the cost of medical care. When an employee attempts to gain benefits that are not entitled, an employer may feel the need to look into the situation and proceed with action. A California County Probation Chief reported that one of his officers was recently arrested for potentially fraudulent workers' compensation claims.

The woman's employer first suspected the workers' compensation claim to be false after she submitted a disability claim. Once reviewed, officials from the Department of Insurance found reason to believe that the officer had embellished information in the claim. They suspect this was done to collect additional benefits from supplemental disability compensation.

OSHA investigated fatally injured worker claim

A California employer that is responsible for the training or care of wild animals may run the risk of experiencing an injured worker claim. In the event a worker suffers a tragic accident, an employer may seek help to prevent unnecessary expenditures in the event of an injured worker claim. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently began an investigation to determine what may have happened when an elephant caretaker was crushed to death.

The tragic accident took pace when one of the elephants purportedly stepped on their caretaker and inflicted fatal crush injuries. The retired veterinarian was working within the animal's enclosure in a zoo setting and was discovered deceased within the animal's habitat barn. Records indicate that an increasing number of professionals believe that specific barriers or safety measures should be in place before workers are allowed to approach enclosed animals.

Employer defense may help during an investigation

An employer defense may have the potential to ease consequences in the event an employer is accused of dishonest practices. A recent report revealed the high number of businesses in California and across the nation that have intentionally labeled employees as independent contractors to intentionally avoid higher costs. Lawmakers in Washington have announced their plan to expose companies that mislabel the classification of their employees in an attempt to financially benefit. A business owner may prepare an employer defense if they suspect they may be investigated.

This practice allows a company to benefit from workers without the financial burden that direct employment often requires. An employee may require insurance, overtime and other costs or compensation for their work. The practice of misusing an independent contractor status has purportedly cost the government billions of dollars in tax money through stimulus agreements and contracts federally assigned to these employers that may have been dishonest about their staff.

Brad Culpepper accused of fraudulent workers' compensation claims

Suspecting a former employee of fraudulent workers' compensation claims can be difficult for an organization as they decide what their first steps should be. An insurance provider contracted by the NFL recently made the claim that Brad Culpepper is guilty of fraudulent workers' compensation claims, including lying. The agency made the decision to pursue legal action against the claimant after he was involved in potentially suspicious physical activities.

The professional and popular millionaire filed the questioned workers' comp claim in California for an injury suffered while a member of the National Football League. During the time Brad Culpepper pursued the claim, the state did not regulate a statute of limitations allowing any player at any time to file their claim. The former athlete believes that his injuries were legitimate and benefits should be provided for past expenses incurred.

Workers' compensation defense may be needed for Benzene exposure

Workers' compensation defense may be necessary for some California companies that foresee a future risk of serious health related problems among multiple employees. The medical costs of multiple workers that suffer health damage from chemical exposure may be extensive for an employer, making a strong workers' compensation defense valuable. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety recently completed a study that found high levels of Benzene exposure in specific oil and gas industry positions.

The Institute believes that employees that regularly work on job sites where fracking or flowback takes place may be regularly exposed to this cancer-causing gas. Researchers found that when employees opened tank hatches located on well sites, close to 88 percent of the air samples contained high levels of Benzene beyond recommended levels. The federal recommendation for exposure limits Benzene to .1 part per million in the entirety of a worker's shift.

OSHA to change injured worker claim regulations

An injured worker claim can include specific details regarding an incident and may reveal safety hazards in a California workplace. This may place an employer in a position where they must protect their business from potential repercussions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently made changes to regulations that require employers to report certain information, including when an injured worker claim involved the death or hospitalization of an employee.

In the past, the agency required employers to file a report for 75 percent of the accidents or injuries that resulted in hospital time or fatality. The new changes require information be submitted to OSHA within a 24 hour period when an employee suffers amputation or blindness from a work related injury or is otherwise hospitalized. The death of a worker would need to be reported no later than eight hours after the business is aware of the tragedy.

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