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Chula Vista California Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Personal injury: California dog owners strictly liable for bites

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 4.5 million reports of dog bites are filed nationwide each year, and an insurance provider reports that most dog bites occur in California. Not all dog bites are cause severe personal injury, but authorities say about one in five bites requires medical care. Victims can seek recovery of damages.

The insurance provider says about half of all dog-bite victims are children, followed by the elderly who are also more vulnerable to attacks by dogs. Although many of the victims are not strangers to the dogs that attack them, mail carriers are at an elevated risk, and they are high on the list of dog-bite victims. Certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls, are said to be more likely to attack somebody, but then so are Chihuahuas, but because they are so much smaller, their bites seldom cause severe wounds.

Workers' compensation: The threats of occupational cancer

Safety hazards exist in all industries, and most workers in California face risks of suffering physical injuries or contracting diseases. Workers' compensation claims are proof that some workers in some industries face cancer risks of which they are not aware. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the American Cancer Society, and international authorities have identified occupations that pose exceptional cancer risks.

The first one mentioned was the danger posed by UV radiation, threatening workers who spend extended periods in the sun, with particular mention of pilots and lifeguards. Hairdressers are exposed to over 5,000 chemicals that are present in hair dye, many of which are known cancer-causing agents. Authorities say workers in nail salons work with polishes and astringents that contain more carcinogens than products with which workers in oil refineries and auto garages have to deal. Painters are also exposed to arsenic and fumes of benzene and other chemicals that pose risks that include lymphoma, leukemia, bladder or kidney tumors and multiple myeloma.

Workers' compensation: Paralyzed worker wins third-party claim

The state-regulated insurance program typically covers workers in California. Employers must carry workers' compensation insurance, which pays benefits that include medical expenses and lost wages. Workers who suffer permanent disabilities in work-related accidents might be awarded additional benefits. It is a no-fault program that pays benefits regardless of who was at fault, and workers may only sue employers if there is proof of gross negligence. However, if an independent third party causes injuries to workers, those employees might have grounds to seek damage recovery through the civil justice system.

Eight years ago, a construction worker was left paralyzed after being struck by a car that traveled through the work zone. Now, Caltrans has announced it approved a payment of $37 million in settlement of the personal injury lawsuit that was filed on behalf of the worker. Reportedly, the jury in the case determined that the driver who struck the 20-year-old worker was not at fault. Instead, the jury found that Caltrans was the negligent party.

How to help your teen driver survive the Labor Day weekend

For teens, summer means freedom from school, time with their friends and whole days full of exploration and activity. It also means an increased risk of deadly car crashes.

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, the stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day sees a spike in fatal car crashes every year. And these “100 Deadliest Days” don’t end with a whimper. They end with a bang. Far too many bangs. Labor Day is the second deadliest holiday of the year, claiming over 300 lives each year.

How many workers' compensation claims result from complacency?

Most industries have inherent dangers, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health prescribe industry-specific safety standards. Employers must take the necessary steps to protect employees from known hazards, even those who are seasoned workers with years of experience. Safety authorities often warn about the dangers of complacency, which is the cause of many workers' compensation claims that are filed each year.

Complacency is an error trap that might not receive the attention it deserves. One way of mitigating it might be to schedule frequent training sessions for all workers -- regardless of their experience levels. It might be only natural for workers who have done the same jobs for years, without any adverse incidents or accidents that caused injuries, to disregard the safety regulations and take shortcuts.

Expected high temperatures can bring workers' compensation claims

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health urged employers to heed the high temperatures that have been predicted and protect workers from excessive heat exposure. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 100 degrees in the coming weeks. Taking the necessary precautions can prevent heat illness, and yet, each year the state-regulated workers' compensation program receives benefits claims from workers who were not protected.

Cal/OSHA says the safety standards apply to all workers who spend substantial hours outdoors, including those in construction, landscaping and agriculture. Also groundskeepers, security guards and delivery drivers who spend many hours in vehicles without air conditioning are also a concern. The vulnerability of workers must be assessed according to their duties and the time they are exposed to high temperatures.

The deadliest days for California’s teens to hit the road

For California’s teens, summertime means a release from school. Until school resumes in the fall, they’re largely free to enjoy the sunshine, long days and the company of their friends. But parents will want to make sure their teens are careful when they hit the road because we’re neck deep in the “100 Deadliest Days.”

According to the AAA, the stretch from Memorial Day to Labor Day marks a spike in car crash deaths involving teen drivers. In 2016, the period saw a 14% rise in car crash deaths compared to the rest of the year, and every year sees a similar increase.

Workers' compensation covers trench-related injury claims

Construction workers in California and elsewhere risk their lives whenever they enter trenches. The number of workers' compensation benefits claims that follow cave-ins is concerning, and authorities hope that the upcoming Trench Safety Stand Down from June 17 to 21 would prevent future wall collapses. Although trenches and excavations are both human-made cuts or depressions in the surface of the earth, trenches are those of which the depth is greater than the width, with widths not exceeding 15 feet.

Workers are reminded that they have the right to refuse to enter unprotected trenches. Any such an excavation that is deeper than five feet and not made entirely of solid rock must be protected by sloping the wall to incline away from the opening or by benching, which involves the walls shaped in steps. Shoring and shielding are options that make use of supports to strengthen the walls or trench boxes that protect workers by enclosing them and preventing cave-ins. The suitable method of protection depends on various factors, such as water content, soil type and more, and a designated competent person must consider them to determine the appropriate support system to be used.

At least 8 people have died on E-scooters

The E-scooter trend has been sweeping cities across the country. Companies like Lime and Bird allow users to rent scooters via cellphone app and then leave the scooters almost anywhere when they arrive at their destination. Most companies rent the scooters for an initial fee of about $1 and then add a few cents on for every minute.

For many urban dwellers, E-scooters seem like a godsend – an easy way to avoid driving to place that are just out of walking range. But with the scooters comes danger. A new study from Consumer Reports shows that E-scooters have led to at least eight deaths and 1,500 injuries.

Workers' compensation covers own-fault injuries

Authorities say a significant percentage of workers suffer workplace injuries attributable to their own fault. Fortunately, the California workers' compensation insurance program is a no-fault system that pays benefits regardless of who caused a work-related accident. Benefits claims data shows there are some contributing factors that lead to many preventable work injuries.

Neglected housekeeping leads to slips, trips and falls that cause sprains, strains, lacerations and other more severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries. Distractions also contribute, and they can be caused by noise and clutter in the work area, or personal issues could cause mental distractions that often lead to the loss of focus on the job. Workers with many years of experience in particular jobs often become complacent. This could lead to taking shortcuts that increase the risks of workplace injuries.

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