very serious question....

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by frizbee, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. frizbee

    frizbee

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    A good friend of mine was working in Arizona at a pizza joint. Last week he was shredding cheese in a meat grinder, and has now lost part of his index finger and the pad of his middle finger. The owner has no workman's comp and he must prove negligence for his case. I have never heard of this as a practice....have you...using a meat grinder to shred cheese?

    Also I see this as clear neg. on the part of the owner, not providing proper tools to do the job....I am curious what you all think?
    How can we help him recover his case?
    Thanks for all your help!
    Frizbee
     
  2. botanique

    botanique

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    Honey, you are not going to like me much after this reply.... It doesn't matter what product goes through a machine. I am so sorry. I could have pushed Capone through my meat grinder and it wouldn't have made a difference. I am so sorry for the mishap, I teared up reading your post. I hope it all works out, and I am so sorry for your friend. Barrooooo! Big Dog Sorry!
     
  3. frizbee

    frizbee

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    no problem....I appreciate the reply...
    I guess the question is-is it common place or rather...common practice. the atty needs an angle of neg on the owners part in instructing and employee using a tool or equiptment improperly, ya know?
     
  4. chefcwm

    chefcwm

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    I have been GM at pizza places in the past, both Mom & Pop places and the big National chains, and I have never heard of anyone having to shred or grind their own cheese. It might be a little cheaper, but how can it be cost-effective??
     
  5. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't believe that the owner is not insured. This accident happened at work, by an employee. The owner is responsible. If he doesn't carry workman's comp (I thought it was mandatory) then he was foolish, but either way he is responsible for taking care any injury an employee sustains, while at the workplace.
     
  6. chrose

    chrose

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    I'm with Pete on this one. I was under the impression that it was a Federal law that in order to operate a business one had to have WC insurance. What your friend needs to do is contact a local WC Attorney now! Only they will be able to answer for sure. Here's a link to a website I used when I was working on my WC case (ongoing case!) you can find answers, attornies etc. specifically for WC cases and others. I hope it works out. (PS a restaurant I worked at we used a Hobart grinder attachment for cheese as well.
    http://www.prairielaw.com/channels/c...p?channelId=19
     
  7. dano1

    dano1

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    someone's gonna own their own pizza shop soon.....
     
  8. chrose

    chrose

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    Don't kid yourself! WC is nothing like Tort law. Basically you get just past nothing. Now if you can avoid WC and find negligence you'll do better, but only as good as the pockets of the owner, you can't get blood from a stone. So I would look to get compensation more so than "rich", but stranger things
    have happened.
     
  9. botanique

    botanique

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    This troubled me so much....

    First, make sure your friend has a food handler's card (small detail, I know, but very important as we all know). Second, HOW exactly did your friend lose part of his finger (I am the biggest clutz in the world, and used to use a meat grinder to make sausage...)? Third, tell your friend this is a huge case, and he needs to go after this guy -- I'm not a litigious person, but he is Extremely wrong in not being covered. How the **** did he get his license? :bounce:
     
  10. frizbee

    frizbee

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    You know I asked the same thing with regards to how he got his hand in there.
    He stated that it happened before he knew what was going on. I know for a fact my friend has never worked in a pizza joint and also has little experience culinarly…(the last spot he worked was a Ruby Tuesday for about a year).
    He stated that he didn’t have the push stick, and the owner is constantly screaming at him for being too slow. Because I have worked with this equipment and I have been trained on the dangers (as I am sure most of you have as well) I would never stick my hand in there, but that wasn’t the case for my friend, obviously.
    He stated that in Arizona he has to prove negligence to have a case, (he spoke to an attorney)….and that is what we are trying to do. Not for nothing I told him I thought it was illegal not to have workman’s comp, but I have also heard of many who don’t carry it. I told him to seek another legal opinion…I think the lawyer he spoke to just didn’t want the case.
    Thanks Chrose for the link. I will pass it along.
    Keep your thoughts on this coming, and I/we appreciate all your posting and information.
    Frizbee
     
  11. chrose

    chrose

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    I think you're right, he needs another attorney! An injury is just that, an injury, and that's what WC is for. If he was drunk, or some other reason as to a cause for it being his fault, then that's something for the company and their insurance company to prove otherwise, and since they aren't carrying WC insurance.......
     
  12. botanique

    botanique

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    Please know, btw, that I meant the restaurant owner, not your friend
     
  13. panini

    panini

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    Well I'm on both sides of this. In my state we don't have to carry WC insurance. We do however have to contribute to WC so the employee will receive benefits while away from the job.
    Unfortunately, all the ambulance chasers and frivolous lawsuits in our business have given everything a bad name.
    I'm really thinking that the negligence will fall back on the employee. I sympathize with the owner and feel horrible for the injured.
    Lets not bury this owner, having a license has nothing to do with WC. An attorney will usually prohibit the owner from doing anything for this person.
    A lawsuit will certainly not throw this person into early retirement. Trying to get some sort of compensation from the owner should be the first move.
    just my 2 cents
     
  14. frizbee

    frizbee

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    panini wrote:
    Lets not bury this owner, having a license has nothing to do with WC. An attorney will usually prohibit the owner from doing anything for this person.
    A lawsuit will certainly not throw this person into early retirement. Trying to get some sort of compensation from the owner should be the first move.
    just my 2 cents

    I think he tried to get some compensation from the owner. He doesn’t have health insurance (like so many of us in the food service industry) and the closest hospital refused to properly take care of his emergency. They bandaged him up and referred him to a surgeon. The surgeon told him that he would not operate unless he had $5000.00 toward the $6500.00, which is the total cost of his services. My poor friend had to wait almost a week with basically a bloody stump for his mother to get him a plane ticket to Maine, where a family friend/dr was able to see, and treat him, performing the surgery. The whole situation sucks basically.
    It isn’t David’s (my friend) intention to get a “pay day” from this owner, but simply to get his medical bills, and some money for the fact that his is permanently disfigured….60% of his finger is gone, all because this owner doesn’t provide the right or proper tools to do the job he was told to do, with little instruction on use of equipment or safety. I have spoken to him as a friend, and as honestly as I can, saying that I personally feel that he does shoulder some blame for his injury. However as a manager/chef/owner could I in good conscience feel no responsibility for an employee who severely injures himself because I required a job done with out providing the right tools? Was he high or drunk at work? No he wasn’t. He is a good worker just trying to do the job asked of him. Sometimes sh*t happens to decent people I know this….but I feel negligence falls more on the part of the owner than on my friend, plain and simple.
     
  15. frizbee

    frizbee

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    And I wish he would have told me this last night...but you know, sometime you forget to ask for simple details...
    He was working under the table.
    I have told him he is basically screwed then. The law will not cover someone who is acting illegally.
    Correct?
    Does he have any recourse in being offer a position under the table? Just a long shot really.
    Thanks to each and every one of you for your posts and help. I learned some things in researching the question, and maybe you did too.
    Frizbee
    Oh btw..he had no instruction in using the machine...and didn't want to bother them in the weeds to ask. Just figured it would be common sense.
     
  16. chrose

    chrose

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    Well I suppose it's possible he could be screwed, but it's not really us he should be asking. This is a job for a WC attorney. They work like personal injury attornies in that they don't get paid if they don't recover something for you. They will also not take the case if they don't think there is one. But you or your friend need to go to the web site I provided and/or your Yellow pages and find a WC attorney that will take the case.
    Good luck, WC is a maze of nonsense that needs to be addressed but for the time being it's better than nothing.
     
  17. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe that your buddy is screwed, but as chrose said, don't take our word for it. He needs to talk to WC personally and get the scoop. That shouldn't stop him from seeking out other legal actions as he may still have a case, especially if he can prove the owner was negilgent. Which I believe he was if he didn't provide the proper tools. You did state that the owner did not have a push stick for the grinder. As far as I am concerned that is negligence, and I am sure that many lawyers and judges would feel the same. I understand not wanting to be litigious or wanting to take the guy "to the cleaners", but your buddy does need to have all his medical bills taken care and if the owner is not willing to help out then he needs to be taken to court.
     
  18. panini

    panini

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    Frizbee,
    That is why I waited before posting. I did not know the owner did not give him any compensation at all" the real criminal here is the surgeon that was practicing business instead of medecine" glad David did not go to him.
    If he has exhausted all his avenues with the owner then there should be some sort of outside help for him. there is always more then one way to skin a cat.If this owner has not followed the law then there should be something punitive. I will absolutely not play attorney, but I'm pretty sure that most states have adopted the 51-49 on negligance. Meaning that 51% of the persons using this machinery will get hurt.
    Hope things work out.
    Jeff
     
  19. chrose

    chrose

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    To save bandwidth I'll post a link rather than copy paste the provision. As I read it, it appears that the WC insurance is mandatory in AZ. and that the owner is liable. Apparently the injury itself is proof enough of negigence on the owners part and the onus is on the owner to prove otherwise. As far as the surgeon goes there must be more to it than that. I would think that if the friend was indigent than the surgeons office would be able to direct him to available aid rather than just dismiss him. So again the bottom line is consult an attorney that specializes in WC law.
    Frizbee, contact me, I have a contact for you in the AZ State Gov't.

    Anyway here's the link:http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatD...23&DocType=ARS
     
  20. chef john

    chef john

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    Dear Frizbee-
    Just a note on the WC thing. Workman's Comp is for work place injuries. Liability and negligence have nothing to do with Workman's Comp. I know that sounds like heresy, but it is true. People get Worker's Comp mixed up with a third party liabilty lawsuit. They are not the same. If there is negligence or liability, your friend files a lawsuit for that.The employer can then counter with your friends inexperience, etc. WC only deals with the injury on a no fault basis. It is simply an insurance policy. Workman's comp pays for the medical expense, his wages for any time off ( at 60 to 75%) based on his last wage, depending on the state, and a small monetary settlement that is based upon what the injury was. The settlement is based on "week wages". For example, if you lose a finger you get 25 weeks wages, an eye, 50 weeks wages, and so forth. These settlements are listed in the Workman's Comp handbook that the government puts out or is in the office of any Workman's Comp lawyer. The settlements are regulated. What the lawyers haggle about is the extent of the injury and how permanent it is.
    I am not sure that his legal status matters, as his employer also is culpable for hiring him in the first place. We mistake Workman's Comp for third party liability suits, but they are two different animals. His inexperience is irrelevent, it is his bosses job to teach him to do his job, this will surely be the crux of his attorney's argument.
    Another thing, WC is mandatory, period. If the employer didn't think enough to protect the well being of his staff or his own liability, then your friend needs to get a workman's comp attorney ( not the one he has, but a new one) to deal with it. The Workman's Comp attorney takes no fee up front, he or she gets paid from the settlement. This attorney can get the hospital to stop calling for their money and protect your friend from harrassment and see to it that he gets the medical treatment he needs. But, he needs a reputable advocate for this, not some ambulance chaser. Don't ask me how I know this stuff, let's just say I learned the hard way. I hope this provides some insight into the system.
    Thanx, John