Archive for November, 2014

Ivan [and] the Terrible [Paper Cut], or is this Psyche Injury “Catastrophic”? [Part 1 of 3]

November 3rd, 2014 2 comments

Your humble blogger is a dedicated defense attorney – although, once in a while, an injured worker seeking representation might darken my doorstep or make my phone ring, these stray cases are usually referred to an applicant’s attorney here or there, and the cases are never taken.  That being said, when my cousin Ivan Ivanivich Grinberg (no, not that Ivan), called to tell me about his recent injury at the copy paper factory, your humble blogger was bound by duty to hear him out, at the very least.

Ivan, was carrying a ream of freshly printed 100% recycled paper to be mailed to a particularly environmentally-minded client of his, when he slipped on a small puddle of water someone had careless left right outside the doorway into the cafeteria/lunch room.  My dear cousin slipped, falling flat on his back (growing up, we lovingly referred to him as “comically clumsy Ivan”).  But, that wasn’t the worst part – during his tumble, he ripped the paper encasing the ream he was carrying to ship to his client, and the entire set of 500 pages went flying.

Everything was fine, except one piece of paper that maliciously fluttered back and forth on its descent, heading right towards Ivan’s face!  He was paralyzed with fear for the 15 seconds it took the seemingly harmless paper to fall, but he knew that this brand of recycled paper was extra thin, and thus it was razor sharp.

In the last of the 15 seconds, during which time his calloused coworkers managed to walk by without any regard for his welfare, he managed to put his hands up to shield his eyes, and suffered a nasty paper cut as a result.

Now, I know what you’re wondering, dear readers, and I was wondering the same thing, so I asked: “Ivan, are you still hurt?”  “Of course I’m hurt! I’m totally and permanently disabled!”  Now, it’s possible that Ivan would read this blog from time to time, so I asked him if he knew what those terms meant – after all, he walked in just fine and seemed to be in no pain.  “My back is fine, and some Neosporin cleared up the paper cut, but now I can’t suffer to look at paper or my anxiety attack comes on.  I can’t sleep, I can’t eat… it’s such a horrible psychiatric injury that I have.  I can’t even go back to work…”

My dear readers, particularly those with larger extended families, understand that one cannot chose one’s blood relations, let alone shrug them off in their hour of need without causing considerable disruptions for all family events from Thanksgiving dinners to weddings for many years to come.  The Bar and Bat Mitzvahs alone would become unbearably awkward!

So I proceeded… “Well, it sounds like you think you’ve got a psyche injury, but unless you were the victim of workplace violence or a catastrophic event, California law doesn’t allow for those anymore.”

Ivan seemed relieved as he asked, “Well, isn’t this injury catastrophic?”

As any good lawyer should always do, I answered in a confident and reassuring manner: “Maybe.”

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