Go to navigation Go to content
Phone: 619-304-1000
The Turley Law Firm P.C.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about the Jones Act, DBA, California workers’ compensation, or employment law. If you have more questions, contact us.

  • Page 3
  • How do I know if my job is covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9?

    California's Wage Order Number 9 Covers Transportation Industry Employees

    Wage Order Number 9 applies to workers in California’s transportation industry. The term “transportation industry” is used to refer to any business or establishment that carries persons or property from one place to another by road, rail, air or water. It includes all operations and services connected with the transport of persons and property, including storage and warehousing and the parking, repair, maintenance, cleaning, and rental of vehicles.

    Semi-trucks parked.

    Industries Covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9

    Air Transportation

    • Airlines
    • Air delivery services
    • Airplane maintenance companies
    • Baggage handling companies

    Ground Transportation

    • Ambulance services
    • Armored car services
    • Bus lines
    • Car rental agencies
    • Car washes (non-retail)
    • Courier services
    • Garages that are not operated by a car dealer or gas station
    • Garbage collection services
    • Limousine services
    • Logging trucks (commercial)
    • Moving and storage companies
    • Package and parcel delivery companies
    • Parking garages and parking lots
    • Storage garages
    • Taxi services
    • Tire aligning and balancing companies
    • Tour buses
    • Tow trucks
    • Transportation companies
    • Truck rentals
    • Trucking companies
    • Trucking companies (agricultural)
    • Vehicle repair
    • Vehicle maintenance businesses
    • Warehouse and storage facilities

    Water Transportation

    • Boats
    • Boat rentals
    • Cruise ships
    • Ferries
    • Ship rentals
    • Ship repair
    • Stevedores
    • Water taxis

    Rail Transportation

    • Railways

    Airline workers and a jumbo jet.

    Truck drivers, delivery drivers, and commercial drivers are covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9, yet these workers rarely get the rest breaks and meal periods guaranteed by state law. This is because employees don’t always understand their rights.

    If you think you have a California wage and hour case, make sure that you choose an experienced attorney. Attorneys who don’t specialize in truck, delivery and commercial driver law may undervalue your claim because they don’t understand California’s wage and hour law and how it applies to drivers.

     

    Bill Turley on the cover of San Diego Attorney Journal magazine.

     

    Listed as amicus counsel on over 20 California Supreme Court cases 

    Bill is listed as amicus counsel on over 20 California Supreme Court cases and Bill wrote two winning amicus briefs for important recent wage cases before the California Supreme Court.

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    What makes this all worthwhile - when employees receive their checks for unpaid wages!

     

    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

  • What are the rules governing overtime wages in California?

    Federal Law requires employers to pay overtime wages to any eligible worker who works more than 40 hours in a workweek (168 consecutive hours). Overtime pay is paid at a rate no less than one and one-half times the regular pay rate (time and a half). California overtime rules build on federal laws, but there are significant differences.

    Attorney Bill Turley testifying at the California State Senate

    California's 8-hour Workday

    One important difference between California overtime law and federal overtime law is California’s 8-hour workday. In California, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than eight hours in a single day. The worker must be paid time and a half for the extra work.

    There is an exception:  California employers may offer an alternative workweek. For example, a dental office may ask its hygienists to work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days in order to offer evening appointments. Employees must be given a chance to vote on the alternative schedule. The schedule must be approved by two-thirds of the employees in the affected work unit. In this case, the employees could work up to ten hours without receiving overtime.

     

    California's 12-hour Double-Time

    Eligible employees who work more than 12 hours in a single day, are entitled to receive twice their regular rate of pay for those work hours.

     

    California's 40-hour Work Week

    Both federal and state laws require payment of overtime wages to employees who work more than 40 hours in a 7-day work week. This rule applies to any period of 168 consecutive hours.

     

    California's 7th Consecutive Day Rule

    A California employee who works for seven consecutive days in a single workweek, is entitled to time-and-a-half overtime for the first eight hours worked on the seventh workday.

     

    Are You Covered by California’s Overtime Laws?

    There are exemptions to California’s overtime law. Workers who receive a salary that is at least twice minimum wage ($10.50 per hour) are exempt from overtime. The worker must also qualify as an exempt professional, exempt executive, or exempt administrator. Firefighters, police officers, government employees, and certain computer professionals are also overtime exempt.

    If an employee is misclassified as overtime exempt, his employer must pay the employee any unpaid overtime as well as penalties, interest and attorney’s fees.

    If you believe that you are owed overtime, contact a skilled California wage and hour attorney. The attorney will be able to tell you if your employer owes you money.

     

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    Clients that are happy they got their check in a California Wage Case

     

    Representing workers all over California

    Bill Turley has a State-wide practice. While his main office is in San Diego, he handles cases for workers all over California. 

     


    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

     

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

  • How are my disability benefits calculated under the Defense Base Act?

     

    Calculating disability benefits under the Defense Base Act

    I give you an insider’s view of Defense Base Act Law, with no sugar coating. No lawyer talk, no double talk. Ever." 

    Defense Base Act Lawyer - Bill Turley and author of the 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case

    Do I have a disability under the Defense Base Act?

    There are basically two benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA): medical benefits and weekly disability benefits.  The weekly disability benefits are the money that the DBA insurance company is obligated to pay you if you are disabled. That is, if you have a disability. 

    Under the DBA you don't get money unless you can show that you have a disability.  If you're like most of our clients, you want to get to the bottom line as quickly as possible. I explain this in a lot more detail in this article. But here goes:

    For temporary total disability - you will need to show that you are unable to perform your usual and customary employment as an overseas civilian contractor due to the injuries you sustained overseas. While this sounds simple enough, there is more than meets the eye here oftentimes. 

    For permanent disability benefits under the DBA, it depends on whether you have what the law calls a "scheduled disability" or an "unscheduled disability."  

    For a scheduled disability your "disability" must be an impairment under the American Medical Associations Guide to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Unless you are so disabled that you can't work at all - then what matters is your "AMA Impairment Rating".  Whether you can work back at your overseas job is not an issue. All that matters is your AMA Impairment Rating. I go into this more in depth in this article. 

    For a non-scheduled injury,  if you are able to return to your usual and customary overseas employment, then you get no money for your permanent disability under the DBA.  Thus, you will have to show that your injuries prevent you from performing your usual and customary employment overseas.  Disability under the DBA is an economic concept based on a medical foundation. That is, your disability under the DBA for a non-scheduled injury is based upon a wage loss concept. 

    There is a whole lot more wrapped into this. 

    Having your doctor understand what your overseas job is all about is sometimes crucial 

    Remember, in order to get weekly temporary total disability compensation benefits (read: money) under the DBA and permanent disability benefits if you have an unscheduled injury - then you are going to need a medical opinion that states that due to the injuries that you sustained while overseas that you are medically unable to perform you're usual and customary employment overseas. 

    Suppose you're a security consultant that works in a war zone, such as Afghanistan. I have talked to many doctors that seem to think that a "security consultant" is either a person in a suit talking about security or, at best, a mall cop that rides around on a segway going between watching teenagers in the food court and bussing around the parking lot. Seriously. 

    You need to make sure that your doctor understands that you have to wear full kit, back pack, guns and ammunition - and the weight of all of this and that you have to be able to carry your buddy out if that is needed. In other words, your doctor has to understand what it is that you do overseas. Or else, how can the good doctor give an opinion about whether your injuries prevent you from performing your overseas job? 

    Compensation is Based on Average Weekly Wage

    If you are injured while working as an overseas civilian contractor and you're unable to do your job for three days or longer, you are eligible for disability benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA). These benefits are paid to you 14 days after your employer is notified of your injury. So, make sure you let your employer know that you were hurt and are unable to work. You will need to do this in writing using form LS 201.

    There are four types of disability compensation benefits under the DBA:

    1. Temporary Total
    2. Temporary Partial
    3. Permanent Total with annual increases
    4. Permanent Partial

    Regardless of whether your disability is partial or full, temporary or permanent, your compensation is based on your average weekly wage or AWW. All compensation is subject to a Maximum Compensation Rate, which is adjusted each year on October 1. The current rate is $1,436.48 per week.

    Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Temporary total disability is granted if your injury leaves you completely unable to work for a short period of time. TDD benefits equal two-thirds of your AWW for the period that you are unable to work.

    Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): A person is considered to have a temporary partial disability if he is able to work, but cannot work as many hours as usual or must do a lower-paying job.  TPD benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s AWW and his earnings while partially disabled.

    Permanent Total Disability (PTD): Permanent total disability benefits are awarded when an injury leaves you unable to work for an indefinite period of time. PTD calculated as two-thirds of your AWW. Permanent disability benefits are subject to an annual increase based on the U.S. national average weekly earnings. The adjustment is applied on October 1 of each year. Permanent disability benefits are payable as long as the disability continues.

    Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): If you have a permanent partial disability, you are able to work, but you may be unable to do your former job.  There are two ways PPD is calculated. If you have a scheduled disability, you will receive a percentage of your AWW for a predetermined period of time. The percentage is based on your disability rating. If you have an unscheduled disability, you will receive two-thirds of the difference between your AWW and your current earnings.

     

    There is a whole lot to chew on here

    I am giving you an overview here. I suggest you claim your free copy of my book Win Your Defense Base Act Case for more detail on all of this. 

    Win Your Defense Base Act Case - Bill Turley

    5 Stars on Amazon.com

    First of all, calculating your disability under the Defense Base Act is not as straightforward as it may first appear. 

    You are going to need to calculate your average weekly wage. Or AWW.  AWW is probably the most heavily litigated part of the law in this area. Maximizing your average weekly wage (you can read more about it here) is critical for you to get the most benefits as possible under the DBA.

    You are going to need to use the correct compensation rate (you can read more about it here). 

    The DBA is wages driven. Meaning, the higher your wages the more money compensation you are entitled to under the law. Because of this, the DBA insurance company is going to try and calculate your AWW as low as possible.

    Generally, your AWW is going to be 2/3's of your earnings (your wages).


    Scheduled vs. Non-Scheduled

    You have to determine whether you have a scheduled or a non-scheduled injury.

    If you have a scheduled injury, then you multiply your compensation rate times the number of weeks under the AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.  A case study is provided below. 

    I suggest that you visit the articles that I have provided links to in order to put all of this together.

    Non-scheduled injuries are based upon a wage loss concept.

     

    Calculating your disability for a scheduled injury - a case study - Steve with a leg injury that occurred in Afghanistan 

    I will provide a case study for Steve, who worked in Afghanistan as a security expert. Steve has a leg injury.  Steve has an AMA Impairment for the lower extremity (read: leg) of 38%. 

    Under the Longshore Act a leg injury is 288 weeks. 

    288 weeks times 38% =  109.44

    You always need to calculate Average Weekly Wage.  Steve has an AWW of  $3,219.45 a week.  Steve has a maximum compensation rate of $1510.76.

    109.44 weeks times $1,510.76 =  $165,337

    Calculating your disability for a scheduled injury - a case study - Tim with a back injury that occurred in Afghanistan

    I will provide a case study for Tim, who worked in Afghanistan as a security consultant. Tim has a back injury, that prevents him from returning back to work overseas. 

    DBA Insurance company's AWW contention

    There is a major dispute over Tim's AWW because he worked overseas for only 23 weeks before he was injured. The DBA insurance company contends that using the 52 weeks before his injury, that Tim has a AWW of  $1,284.25.  

    DBA insurance company's position on extent of disability/ loss of wage earning capacity

    The DBA insurance company gets a Labor Market Survey that indicates that there is suitable alternate employment for Tim in the area where he lives, where Tim can earn $1,034 a week. 

    Thus, using the DBA insurance company's AWW and Labor Market Survey the calculation is as follows: 


     $1,284.25
    -$1,034.00
     $   250.25 

    $ 250.25 times 2/3 =  $166.83 

    Admission of injury 

    The DBA insurance company  "admits" that had a back injury. Meaning that the insurance company takes the position that Tim really was injured. Which is difficult to contend otherwise considering the incident report and all the witnesses that say that they saw Tim get injured when he was diving for cover during a rocket attack and Tim was grimacing in pain dn holding his back immediately afterwards)

    Malingering

    In addition, as usual the DBA insurance company is taking the position that Tim is "malingering."  Which is a fancy term to say that Tim is faking his injuries. The insurance company doctor is suggesting that Tim is not really as injured as Tim's doctor concludes and that Tim is really able, medically, to return to work as a security consultant. Thus, the DBA insurance company's position is that Tim is able to return to his usual and customary employment with no wage loss.

    Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, there is evidence that supports this malingering contention. Medically, the insurance company reads the back MRI as not "conclusive" that Tim's back is, in fact, painful.  That is the problem with pain. It is difficult to prove pain. The insurance company conducted some sub-rosa videos, which show Tim taking out the trash, doing lifting while working on cars, and working out at the gym. 

    If the Judge credits the insurance company's contention in this regard, Tim will be awarded no permanent disability benefits. 

    Alternate position 

    But if the Judge believes that Tim can't return to work, then it is the DBA insurance company's position that Tim has a loss of wage earning capacity of $166.83 a week. 

    Tim's AWW contention

    Tim contends that only his overseas earnings should be used in calculating his AWW, and thus he has an AWW of $2,854.56. 

    Tim's position on extent of disability/ loss of wage earning capacity

    Tim, of course, strongly disagrees with the insurance company's contentions, on just about every level.  Tim's treating physician has opined that Tim is unable to return to his usual and customary work.  Tim's doctor also agrees that Tim can do limited activities such as taking out the trash and doing limited lifting.  In fact, he suggested to Tim that Tim get back into the gym and try and strengthen himself.  However, all of this is a far cry from working in a war theater, in full kit, and having the ability to carry out your co-workers if someone gets injured.  

    In fact, all of these activities are in the contract for security consultant. 

    It is Tim's contention that the best evidence of his wage earning capacity is the job he is actually doing as a real estate appraiser earning  $725 a week. Tim can demonstrate that he was relentless in looking for work in the area where he lives and $725 a week is good money, considering his education, training, skills and his injuries. 

    Thus, Tim's loss of wage earning capacity is as follows: 


      $ 2,854.56
     -$    725.00
      $ 2,129.56

     $ 2,129.56 x 2/3 =  $1,419.69 

    Thus, Tim's contention is that he is owed $1,419.69 in permanent partial disability benefits 

    Bottom line

    This gives you a good idea of how this all plays out in a DBA case. I have been simplistic in order to achieve clarity. But, I think you get the idea. 

    Need help right now?

    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

     

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new DBA case" in your text.

     

    Or you can leave us a message on this web page.

                                                                                                                           

     

    This article isn't legal advice

    These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, or your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why DBA cases are not won and/or are not as successful folks might have hoped for.

    Just because we have gotten great results in so many other Defense Base Act cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your DBA case. Every case is different.

  • How is a vessel defined under Jones Act law?

    Any American Owned Watercraft That Can be Used to Transport Goods or Passengers can be Considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    The Jones Act offers legal protection for maritime workers who are injured while in service to a Jones Act vessel. Among the most important of Jones Act protections is the right to directly sue an employer when injuries are caused by the employer’s negligence. Other workers do not have this right.

    To qualify as a Jones Act vessel, a vessel must be owned by an American individual or company.  For a maritime worker to be considered a Jones Act seaman, he must be the master or a member of a Jones Act vessel’s crew. How do you know if you work on a Jones Act vessel?

    There are many ways to work on the water. While it is easy to recognize a cruise ship or barge as being a vessel, it is harder to decide if an offshore drilling rig or floating dormitory meets that definition.   

    In 2005, the Supreme Court (Stewart v. Dutra Construction) determined that under the Jones Act, the definition of vessel may include “every description of Watercraft or other artificial contrivance used or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”  This means that any watercraft that can be used to transport goods or passengers can be considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    Under this definition, it is easy to recognize cargo ships, supply boats, tankers, freighters, fishing boats, ferries, cruise ships, tugboats, and barges as vessels. But offshore drilling units, jack-up rigs, semi-submersible rigs, dredges, docks, and floating work platforms may also be considered vessels under some circumstances.

    The definition of a Jones Act vessel can be a deciding factor in determining the outcome of a Jones Act injury case. If you have any questions about whether you qualify for Jones Act protection, contact a California maritime lawyer.

     

     

    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call. 619-304-1000 

     

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

  • What is meant by the term “navigable waters” when discussing Jones Act Law?

     

    The Jones Act covers any maritime worker or employee who spends more than 30 percent of his time in the service of a Jones Act vessel on a navigable waterway. In the past, federal courts have interpreted the term “navigable waterways” to include almost any large body of water. The Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are considered navigable waterways, but so are California’s harbors, rivers and inland lakes.  

     

    Here is a list of navigable bodies of water in California:  

    • Pacific Ocean
    • San Francisco Bay
    • San Pedro Bay
    • Bodega Bay
    • Half Moon Bay
    • San Pablo Bay
    • Suisun Bay
    • Port of San Diego
    • Port of Los Angeles
    • Port of San Francisco
    • Port of Oakland
    • Port Hueneme
    • Port of Stockton
    • Port San Luis
    • Port of Redwood City
    • Port of Richmond
    • Port of West Sacramento
    • Port of Long Beach
    • Stockton Channel
    • Humboldt Bay Harbor
    • Oceanside Harbor
    • Newport Harbor
    • Santa Barbara Harbor
    • Morro Bay Harbor
    • Channel Islands Harbor
    • Dana Point Harbor
    • Avalon Harbor
    • Pillar Point Harbor
    • Santa Cruz Harbor
    • Moss Landing Harbor
    • Crescent City Harbor
    • Clipper Yacht Harbor
    • Marina del Rey Harbor
    • Ventura Harbor
    • Noyo Harbor
    • Wilmington Harbor
    • Santa Cruz
    • Alcatraz Wharf
    • Berkeley Marina
    • Sausalito Marina
    • Vallejo Marina
    • Porto Bodega Marina
    • Point Area Cove
    • Sacramento River
    • San Joaquin River
    • Colorado River
    • Klamath River
    • Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
    • Lake Tahoe
    • Mono Lake
    • Clear Lake
    • Lake Shasta
    • Lake Almanor
    • Lake Havasu
    • Lake Oroville
    • Trinity Lake
    • San Luis Reservoir

    Working on the water is very dangerous. Seamen face many of the same risks as land based workers: overexertion, repetitive motion injuries, slip-and-fall accidents, and dangers from falling objects. They also face unique risks. The Jones Act is a federal law that protects those who work on the water if they are injured while working. Unlike workers’ compensation, the Jones Act allows maritime workers to take action against negligent employers.

    If you have been injured while working on a passenger ship, cargo ship, oil tanker, tugboat, oil rig, fishing boat, barge, ferry, tour boat, or any other vessel that regularly travels the waters of California, you may be covered under Jones Act Law.  

     

  • What is California Workers' Compensation Salary Continuation?

    Salary Continuation

    Some California employers have plans that pay all your wages for all or part of the time you are temporarily disabled. These plans are called salary continuation. There are different kinds of salary continuation plans. Some salary continuation plans use your vacation and/or sick leave to supplement the TD payments required by California workers' compensation law.

     

     

    Standing Up For Your Rights

    We stand up to the workers' compensation insurance company that is trying to keep you from getting needed medical treatment and weekly compensation benefits.

     

    Call us today to find out more at 619-304-1000

     

  • Is there a Federal OSHA office in San Diego?

    Yes.

    The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened a new area office at 550 West C. St., Suite 970, in San Diego. This office supports OSHA's increased activity and strengthened enforcement in Southern California.

    The new area director of OSHA's San Diego office is Tom Carle, a safety engineer and a certified safety professional who has been with OSHA for more than 12 years. He has worked in OSHA's Bridgeport and Allentown, Pa., area offices. Prior to his selection for this position, he served as the assistant area director in Allentown.

    "With the brand new area office in San Diego, we will improve service to workers and employers in California and enhance our coordination and oversight with the state plan," said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA's regional administrator in San Francisco, Calif. "This presence ultimately will ensure workers are better protected."

    Employers and workers with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's San Diego Area Office at 619-557-5030 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing an imminent danger to workers.

     

  • Can my first California workers compensation temporary disability payment be delayed?

    Delays in receiving California workers compensation checks are common in California. 

    If the claims administrator “says” they are having difficulty determining whether your injury is covered by workers' compensation, they may delay your first California temporary total disability (called TTD) payment while investigating your claim. The delay is typically no more than 90 days. The claims administrator must send you a delay letter if there is a delay. It must explain why you won't receive payments, what additional information the claims administrator needs and when a decision will be made. If there are further delays, the claims administrator must send you additional delay letters.

     

     

    What if I haven’t received a letter denying my claim?

    If the claims administrator doesn't send you a letter denying your claim within 90 days after you filed the claim form, your claim is considered accepted. If you don’t receive a temporary total disability check immediately after you are injured, you need to file for State Disability.  Or California SDI - State Disability Insurance. This isn’t welfare. Each week you have State Disability deducted from your check.   Be sure to apply as soon as possible.  You will need to have your doctor certify that you are unable to work.

     

    Third Party Cases

    California has some of the lowest and most unfair workers' compensation benefits in America. Because of this, you need to have your case reviewed to see if you have a viable third party work injury case. A third-party work injury case is civil a lawsuit where someone other than your employer is legally responsible for your injuries.

     

    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call at 619-304-1000

     

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.