Former Sacramento, CA Prison Guard Wins Appeal in Lawsuit.

While you may not enjoy waking up and going to work every day, you probably don’t have much of a choice.  That prognostication may seem overly terse, but, in reality, employment is what keeps you and your family financially afloat.

Hopefully, your employer provides you with more than just a steady revenue stream.  In fact, by law, your employer may be required to offer much more than that, including minimum wage, overtime pay, and worker’s compensation benefitsBenefits, especially worker’s compensation, are extremely important to the average American family because they help account for unforeseen circumstances.  Worker’s compensation is a vital resource for people who are injured during the course of their employment.  Employers are legally required to purchase and carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage to protect their employees in the event of a work-related injury.

In terms of coverage, workers’ compensation benefits usually include medical costs and expense coverage, disability payments, a percentage of average income and compensation for permanent disfigurement or scars.  Unfortunately, for some employees, receiving the workers’ compensation benefits to which they are entitled is sometimes a tall order, simply because some employers and their insurers are dishonest.  They may claim that an injury did not happen during the course of employment or that a worker is entitled to less than what they actually deserve.

In 1997, Mr. Monnie Wright began working as a security guard at the San Quentin State Prison in northern California.  The prison is situated on an isthmus about fifty miles west of Sacramento.  Housing nearby is provided, but is not deemed mandatory, by the prison for people who work there, including security guards and administrators.

Wright worked at the San Quentin prison for thirteen years without incident.  In 2010, that all changed.  One morning, Wright was walking to work from his apartment near the prison.  Suddenly, a concrete step crumbled beneath him and collapsed.  As a result, he suffered a serious injury that required him to miss significant time at work.  He received worker’s compensation benefits for the injuries until he went on early disability retirement in 2012.

However, Wright believed that he was entitled to compensation under a premises liability theory of law, and filed suit against the prison for his debilitating injuries.  In court, the State moved to have the lawsuit dismissed outright, saying Wright’s claims were covered solely by worker’s compensation because he was a state employee who was injured on state property while walking to his job. They argued that the employment relationship started once the employee enters the employer’s premises.  The judge in that case granted the dismissal.

The 1st District Court of Appeals, in review, decided that the suit should not have been dismissed because a material question of fact existed as to the scope of the premises and Wright’s employment.  Mr. Wright is represented by Attorney Anthony Label.

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