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California Q&A Board

Q&A Log - California

Worker ' s Compensation

Wiping Up a Chemical Spill
Question: An installation tech is installing a chemical fume hood in a lab. He decides to take a break for lunch and walk to the food court. While walking to the on-site food court, he notices a spill, assumes it is water and decides to wipe it up without using any PPE. 12 hours later, at home, the employee is experiencing swelling in his throat and ends up staying 2 days overnight for treatment. Is it compensable?. Is it compensable?   -Nate B. 1/9/21

Answers: This injury would most likely be compensable. Because the cleaning up of spills could fit within the scope and duty of an installation tech, and because he is on-site, this would most likely result in a compensable claim. (source: https://www.wcirb.com/guide-to-workers-compensation/introduction-wcirb/overview). Additionally, this is an example of a 'mutual benefit' for the employer. You can make the case that the employer benefitted from the action of the employee (wiping up a spill) and therefore the injury would probably be compensable. -McKell S.1/17/21

Lifting Heavy Freight
Question: I was hurt at work in 2019 while working as a heavy equipment driver with lifting heavy freight. I hurt my neck, back, MRI states c2 c3 c4 c5 c7c8 multi levels. A foraminal cervical stenosis with 3 disc herniated in the neck arm back hand fingers has constant numbness tingle pain question is I'm w/c but they deny every medical treatment the doctors request. How should my case end with a lawyer? Also, the orthopedic doc says "permanent stationary" in his report and I am not sure what that meant. -Roxanne. 3/22/21

Answers: Hi Roxanne, I can't speak to the legal nature of your case, I am not a lawyer. However, a few things that you can consider: 1. In California, you can file a claim with the WCIRB if you feel that your claim is being denied unfairly. 2. Has the worker's compensation carrier given a reason for the denial? Often times, the physician will state that the patient has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once the physician states that, it is difficult to get further treatment covered (because the doctor has stated that you are medically as healed as you will get). You can request the option of seeking another medical opinion on your case, I would suggest doing that through your work and insurance carrier BEFORE you go to another doctor. 3. Has your work provided you with modified/restricted/limited duties? If they offer you modified duty and you reject it, that can sometimes end your claim. Without more details, it is difficult to give you more information.. -McKell S. 3/30/21

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