Workers Comp Zone


They were huddled around the hot stove reminiscing about the season…

Vladimir: “That was quite a game… 3-2 count, bases loaded, tying run on second. And the pitch hits him in the eye! Carried out on a stretcher. Took the stuffing out of our rally and the cornea out of his eye.”

“And, no less, all on a pitch from that submariner!”

Estragon: “Yeah, its pretty sad. He lost the eye, And we lost the game. Irony is, it was a damn slow pitch. That hurler is no Nolan Ryan or Bob Feller. He has Quisenberry’s style and stuff. But it’s a slow velocity pitch. Just a damn freak accident.”

Vladimir: “I’ve always been entranced by these offbeat throwers. Hoyt Wilhelm and his knuckleball. Elroy Face and his forkball. Ted Abernethy and his submarine. Great stuff. Just goes to show that good pitchers don’t have to be high velocity. And the low velocity stuff is so entertaining. Some of it just looks goofy.”

Estragon: “Well, we live in a time when pitchers and fans are fixated on high velocity throwing speed. Everything’s clocked. JUGS radar guns. Stalker radar guns. Forget the Tom Glavines and Greg Madduxes, with their finesse. The kids want to throw with more and more velocity.”

Vladimir: “Yeah, but even back early in the last century they were using a gravity drop interval record to measure Walter Johnson and Christy Matthewson’s speed. But many of these throwers now leave the specialty throwers in the dust, with their low-velocity bag of tricks.”

Estragon: “But about that eye… he’ll need a patch… and a good lawyer.”

Note: Under the 2004 Schwarzenegger comp reforms, most workers can receive only 2 years of temporary disability payments from the date of commencement of TD. Recently enacted amendments will allow the 104 weeks to be used over a five-year period. But under Labor Code 4656, an exception exists for several conditions, including “high-velocity eye injuries.” Those injuries can receive 5 years of temporary disability.

What’s a high velocity eye injury? You decide. Would it include a worker who trips and hurts her eye rushing down the hall to a meeting? After all, it was a hard fall she took. And how fast do cars need to be traveling before an accident can be termed “high velocity”?

And was this part of SB 899 crafted to protect a certain small group of workers?

And while you’re at it, reflect on a system that treats some workers with severe conditions much better than others.

Julius Young

Category: Understanding the CA WC system