On December 2, 2015, a married couple inspired by foreign terrorist organizations opened fire upon a training event and Christmas party of San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. Of the about 80 employees present, 14 people were killed in the attack, and 22 were seriously injured. In the year since then, county employees who were injured both physically and psychologically have had to fight tooth and nail for workers’ compensation, often not receiving it at all.
One victim, Valerie Kallis-Weber, underwent countless surgeries and has faced a myriad of other problems stemming from the attack. To this day, her left hand is paralyzed, she has a fist-sized gouge in her thigh from a bullet, she has bullet and bone fragments in her pelvis and has suffered other tissue damage, in addition to psychological trauma. As such, she needs occupational and physical therapy, home health aide and more operations.
Her health insurance doesn’t cover her needs, so she relies on workers’ compensation. However, California has strict requirements to get coverage, and a workplace shooting is a gray area, according to the law. So, her home aide will end soon, she can no longer get antidepressants covered and her therapy has been all but ended.
San Bernardino County officials say they are doing all they can to help victims of the shooting get workers’ compensation. However, because the state’s laws were written to cover common injuries and not shootings, there has been resistance to paying out benefits, since such injuries aren’t explicitly stated. It’s even tougher for victims who did not suffer physical injuries, but did develop psychological issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Because such issues are not visible, workers’ compensation claims are even less likely to be paid out.
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina, but were denied for an invalid reason, you do have legal options. Contact the attorneys at Howell & Christmas today for a free case evaluation.