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Oakland Legal Issues Blog

Attorneys advise those filing workers' compensation claims

No one walks out their door in the morning thinking this is the day they'll be injured at work. However, workplace injuries take place all the time. Some of these injuries are minor, requiring a little first aid, but nothing else. However, other injuries are more serious, necessitating extensive medical care and making it so that the worker must recover at home for a certain amount of time before being able to return to work. And, in some cases, a workplace injury can result in permanent disability.

It is fortunate, then, that the state of California requires most employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. This is true even if the employer has merely one employee. These benefits are meant to help workers who are injured on the job get by financially until they can return to work. Some benefits provided through workers' comp include medical care benefits, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits or even death benefits.

Worker at a California airport is killed in a tire explosion

Most people in California can appreciate putting in a hard day's work. This may be particularly true for those who work in dangerous occupations. Unfortunately, it is not unknown for a worker to be injured or even killed while performing their work duties. As a result, their family members are left grapping with the loss they have suffered.

A tragic incident took place recently at John Wayne Airport in Southern California. According to an airport spokeswoman, one worker lost his life when a jet bridge tire exploded. The worker and another employee were performing maintenance on the tire in a workshop when the explosion occurred.

Designing Safer Saws

Our clients include individuals who are injured using defective products. For years, I have been watching a company called SawStop with interest. SawStop makes a very cool table saw with technology that that stops the spinning blade in an instant when it comes into contact with human flesh. With such a design, accidents which would otherwise result in the loss of fingers or hands are avoided (https://www.sawstop.com/). Given my interest in product safety, my aspiring engineer son recently shared the following YouTube link with me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdW7vhYYSdM&feature=youtu.be. The video shows two designers who are developing a safety modification to rotary hand saws. These saws can cause injury in a kick back event; in such an event, the blade of the saw can catch on what is being cut and be sent back into the user. Using a variety of technologies (e.g., gyroscopes, machine learning, etc.), their design can stop a blade's rotation quickly once a kick back event is triggered. Keep the advances coming!

California bill aims to deter cellphone use while driving

These days the technology we have at our fingertips is truly astounding. A cellphone can do so much more than make a phone call. One can use a cellphone to send a text message, email, as a navigation system, play music and more. However, all these acts can be extremely distracting for drivers and could lead to a serious car crash.

A bill has been introduced in the California State Assembly that would further penalize those who use a cellphone while driving. Under the bill, those who use a cellphone while behind the wheel would incur a point on their driving record. If a person has too many points on their driver's license, their license could be suspended.

A herniated disk can slow you down, impact your finances

A herniated disk is every bit as painful as it sounds. Furthermore, the pain and discomfort associated with this injury can slow you down, thus making it very difficult to live the life you've come to enjoy.

There are many causes of herniated disks, such as lifting too much weight, blunt force trauma, slip-and-fall accident, car accident and a fall from height.

How does comparative fault work in California?

Sometimes determining fault in a car accident is relatively straight forward. For example, if a motorist in California is struck by a drunk driver or is rear-ended while waiting at a red light, it can generally be shown that the other driver is at fault. Drunk drivers are breaking their duty of care to drive reasonably under the circumstances and, likewise, a motorist who rear-ends another motorist may have been distracted, speeding or following too close, all breaches of their duty of care.

However, other times the circumstances surrounding a car accident are more complex. The other driver might have been drunk, distracted or violating a traffic law, but what if you were also speeding, had your eyes off the road or in some other way contributed to the accident. Does this mean you cannot collect damages if you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit following the crash?

Brain injuries can significantly impact your earning potential

Brain injuries can happen in a number of ways. You could slip, fall and hit your head, resulting in a traumatic brain injury caused by swelling of the brain. You could strike your skull on the windshield or steering wheel of your car during a collision. Any kind of blunt force trauma to the head or penetrating injury to the skull could also result in brain injuries.

Even in scenarios where a brain injury leaves you mostly capable of returning to life as you knew it, you could still find that the impact of the injury reaches many areas of your life. Many people find that brain injuries affect their ability to continue their jobs or desired career paths. That could mean losing out on significant earning potential for the rest of your life.

California citrus grove worker dies after being hit by fan blade

Farming is an important industry in California, and citrus groves are one of the state's most renowned crops. However, like many other manual jobs where people must work with heavy machinery, farming can be dangerous. One recent incident in a California citrus grove exemplifies just how dangerous these occupations can be.

A worker in a California citrus grove lost his life recently after being struck by a 600-pound wind machine blade. The wind machines stop the citrus crops from freezing by circulating warm air on the orchards. According to the brother of the deceased worker, the worker was turning off a wind machine. The machine started vibrating heavily, which caused a propeller to break off, hitting the worker, who died from the blow he suffered. The company the deceased worked for had been cited twice in 2016 for accidents that took place at its facilities. This recent incident is being investigated by state regulators.

Jobs at risk for slips and falls during January

The winter months tend to be the most common times of the year for workers to slip and suffer a fall injury. A large portion of the nation deals with colder weather that can freeze the sidewalks and harsh winds that can throw off their balance. January is often the peak of the season where the cold and hazardous conditions are at their worst.

With California, the effects of winter can vary. Some parts of the state have ski resorts, while others won’t see a single snowflake. However, even those areas often see an increase in rainstorms around this time, so the threat of a fall injury is still present. At last year’s OSHA Summit, there were over 20,000 fall injuries in California back in 2015 alone. It is often the outdoor positions who have the highest risk, so the following workers should watch their steps outside for the season:

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