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Employer defense and a worker seeking addition compensation

Home health care facilities in California are responsible for sending workers into the homes of their clients and may often require an employer defense in the event someone is hurt while on the job. An employer defense may work to protect a company from having to provide compensation benefits beyond necessity when an accident does occur. A higher court decision recently determined that an Alzheimer’s patient who had been sued by a home health care employee was not responsible for providing compensation for an injury.

The injury occurred when the trained worker was providing in-home care to an Alzheimer’s patient that included help with basic living. The care provider was washing dishes when the Alzheimer’s patient clumsily ran into her as she was cleaning a heavy knife. The impact caused a laceration on the wrist of the worker, which resulted in finger numbness and ongoing pain.

The California Supreme Court found that home health care employees do have limited benefits in the event they are injured by a patient with Alzheimer’s while working. Workers' compensation is generally provided to help an employee with medical costs and wages missed, but are not meant to be taken advantage of. A person who suffers from the degenerative memory disease cannot be held liable for causing harm to a care provider in their home.

Records indicate that the victim did receive regular workers’ compensation benefits from her employer, but sought to sue for additional liability. A California company who has provided compensation to a hurt worker may desire a plan of action to avoid additional action against them. Some employers may seek legal advice in creating a strong employer defense.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Calif. high court denies home health worker who sued Alzheimer's patient", Maura Dolan, Aug. 4, 2014

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