Lewis, Marenstein,
Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, Llp

Woodland Hills California Legal Blog

Can you suffer electric shock at the workplace?

Californian workers like you often spend time around appliances, machinery, or other sources of electricity. Even if your precise job doesn't involve dangerous voltage levels, that doesn't mean that you will never face the possibility of an electric shock.

FindLaw points out that electrocution is actually one of the most common types of workplace injury, with up to 9 percent of all fatal workplace injuries involving some form of electrocution. Meanwhile, consumers suffer up to 70 fatalities a year due to faulty electrical products.

What should I know about appealing a disability denial?

If you recently became disabled and you are unable to work, you may have filed a claim for Social Security disability. Like many others who file claims, you may have been denied. This is not uncommon for California residents. However, a denied claim can be discouraging. Many people in this situation may feel like giving up, but you should understand that you can appeal a denied claim.

How do I appeal a denial, and what are the steps involved, you may wonder? The Social Security Administration has outlined the process on its website. Typically, people have 60 days to appeal a denial. The appeals process involves four levels, which include the following:

  • Reconsideration – your claim reviewed by a different person than the original one who reviewed your claim, and may include new evidence to support your need for disability payments
  • A hearing by an administrative law judge
  • A review by the Appeals Council
  • A review by the federal court – the final level of the Social Security disability appeals process, allowing you to file a civil suit in the federal district court

Know the signs of traumatic brain injury

As a California police officer, you face risks on a daily basis to serve your duty of keeping communities safe. One of the common risks police officers face is an injury that may not be immediately recognizable or visible: traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBI can be caused by an array of incidents, from motor vehicle crashes to assaults to falls, blows to the head and more. Police officers can face risks in training and out on the job. When you suffer a head injury, it is important to know the signs of TBI, the risks of continual head injuries and your options to receive compensation while you recover.

The link between firefighting and cancer

Chances are, you understood that the firefighting profession was a dangerous one when you decided to become a California firefighter, but you may have been most concerned about the injuries you could potentially sustain during firefighting. At Lewis, Marenstein, Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, LLP, we recognize that, while today’s firefighters face substantial injury risks, they also face a heightened risk of developing work-related cancer.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, today’s firefighters are 9% more likely to develop cancer than the rest of the general population, and they are also 14% more likely to die because of something cancer-related. The nature of your profession suggests that you regularly undergo exposure to contaminants, and some of these known contaminants have cancer-causing properties.

How can a fall from a ladder impact your health?

Your job in California has you going up and down ladders almost every day, multiple times a day. You may feel so comfortable with scaling even extremely tall ladders that the inherent risks of ladder-related falls aren't at the forefront of your mind. However, one fall can be all it takes to change the course and quality of your life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examines occupational ladder fall injuries, a broad scope of injury that applies to anyone who uses a ladder in their daily work. This can be police officers, firefighters, construction workers, electricians, painters, and others. According to their numbers, falls are one of the leading causes of unintended injury mortality. On top of that, falls from ladders make up 43% of that statistic.

Technology addiction and car crashes

Addiction to technology can increase the probability of a car crash in many different ways. Not only can these addictions cause someone to become distracted while behind the wheel, such as those who try to drive while using a tablet or sending messages on their phone, but it can also cause drivers to become mentally distracted, agitated and even fatigued. There are many ways in which people are addicted to technology, whether they spend a significant amount of time playing games on their computer, are addicted to social media or struggle with some other form of technological addiction. Sadly, this has played a role in many fatal auto accidents.

Using an electronic device behind the wheel can be incredibly dangerous. A driver may take their hands off the wheel to manipulate a device, or they may also lose their focus because they are thinking about something on their phone or tablet. In some cases, people may be in a rush to get home because they are addicted to technology, which could cause them to speed or pay less attention to the road. Moreover, these addictions can cause people to lose a significant amount of sleep, which can result in drowsy driving.

Revisit the facts on distracted driving

Since distracted driving is an increasingly prevalent issue across the country, it is important to periodically recap the risks. Thousands of people across the country, including in California, are injured and killed every year in accidents attributed to distracted driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, according to the National Safety Council. This month, drivers and others can educate themselves on the dangers and prevention methods for distracted driving, as well as the different types of distractions.

Are hands-free cellphones a safe alternative for drivers?

California is just one state in the nation that prohibits motorists from using hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel. Many states have created legislation banning this act due to the many people who are injured and killed in distracted driving car accidents every year. As a California motorist, you may have switched to using a hands-free cellular device while driving in an attempt to stay in compliance with the law. However, studies show that hands-free devices may not be a safe alternative to hand-held cellphones.

The study, released by AAA, involved participants who were asked to operate a simulator vehicle, as well as a vehicle set up with monitoring equipment. As they were driving, researchers asked the participants to complete certain distractive tasks, including the following:

  •          Listen to a book on tape
  •          Listen to the radio
  •          Hold a conversation using a hand-held cellphone
  •          Speak with a passenger in the car
  •          Maintain a conversation using a hands-free cellphone
  •          Use a voice-activated device to compose an email

Law enforcement rights could expand with new California law

Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day in California, but there are more than violent injuries and confrontations that they often worry about. In the past, certain injuries were overlooked by workers’ compensation claims, but according to KUSI News, a Democratic representative from San Diego recently announced a bill to extend officer’s workers’ compensation availability.

The representative believes that some officers are in danger of losing employment or healthcare when they are forced to use personal leave in agencies where certain illnesses and injuries must be classified by whether they are workplace injuries. If they are not, officers are required to use their own time as they recover from injuries. Because of this, some officers avoid work with agencies that require them to use their own time to recover from a workplace injury.

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Lewis, Marenstein,
Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, Llp

20750 Ventura Boulevard
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Woodland Hills, CA 91364

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