Lewis, Marenstein,
Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, Llp

Woodland Hills California Legal Blog

Can a blow to the head cause paralysis?

Paralysis is the inability to move one or more parts of your body. It has may be temporary or permanent, but if it occurs due to an injury that you sustained as part of your work as a public safety member, you should be able to recover compensation on account of it. 

Paralysis can take many forms, each of which has several different causes. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, paralysis occurs broadly because of damage to some part of the nervous system, whether that be the peripheral nerves, the spinal cord or the brain itself. Therefore, it is entirely possible that a blow to the head could cause brain damage severe enough to result in paralysis. 

PTSD: When and how to get help for first responders

Post traumatic stress disorder is nothing new, but it's only recently become better understood. Those who are first responders are often diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their lifetime, and now, people are advocating for workers' compensation coverage for police officers, firefighters and paramedics to treat PTSD.

After dealing with a record-setting wildfire season and responding to several mass shootings in the state, first responders in California are both mentally and physically exhausted. According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, there is significant backing for legislation that would allow them to file a workers' compensation claim while they take time off from their job to treat PTSD.

What types of benefits are offered via workers' compensation?

If you are like most people in California, you are aware that there may be financial assistance available to you if you are hurt at work. This is through a program called workers' compensation. However, you may not have a clear understanding of what types of benefits are available as part of this program. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations manages this program and explains the different types of benefits that comprise it.

One benefit important to most people is payment for medical expenses related to the injury or illness. This may include office visits, hospitalizations, therapy and more. If your injury or illness keeps you away from your job, you might be able to receive temporary disability benefits until you can return to work. These benefits will pay a portion of your normal earnings. If your injury or illness results in a permanent mental or physical disability, you may qualify for permanent disability benefits.

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.

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Lewis, Marenstein,
Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, Llp

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Woodland Hills, CA 91364

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