Just how sensitive are workers' compensation claims once contested
by a claimant or employer? As
Business Insurance reports, a number of major California workers' comp cases this year
came down to the interpretation of a single word or phrase.
Take the case of Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. et al. v. Workers'
Compensation Appeals Board and Mark Dreher. The claimant was a maintenance
man slipped and fell in the rain, fracturing his hip and requiring several
surgeries. Ultimately, the courts sided with the employer and ruled that
the workers' medical treatment should not be treated as a work-related
injury. Why? Because the fall was not "not a sudden and extraordinary
Larsen v. Securitas Security Services also hung on particular verbiage
in workers' comp law. In this case, a security guard sustained a head
injury when a car she was walking by suddenly pulled out, knocking her
to the pavement. The claimant characterized the event as "violent"
in her appeal for increased workers' comp benefits, but her employer
disagreed. Fortunately, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB)
sided with the claimant in this case.
"A Word, A Phrase Or A Nuance"
According to those in the industry, this exacting examination of phrasing
is a result of the overwhelming volume of cases that are brought to appeal.
For the WCAB, examining the black and white text is the easiest and swiftest
way to cut through the uncertainties of a case and arrive at a decision.
"Commissioners are inundated with work, so there are many times that
cases will turn on a word, a phrase or a nuance," said Attorney Jeffrey
E. D'Andre, based in Oakland. Sometimes this is in the favor of the
employer, other times it is favor of the worker, but regardless, one thing
is clear: incisive, vigilant counsel is needed to successfully assert
the viability of a claim.
If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers'
compensation benefits. At the
Law Offices of Wax & Wax, our experienced and award-winning Glendale workers' compensation
attorneys are well-aware of the challenges workers' face when pursuing
these benefits and what it takes to secure results.
Whether you are filing your claim or need to appeal a decision, our team
is ready to hear from you. Call our offices today.