Pennsylvania: Attendant Care-Providing Mother's Injuries at Hands of Knife-Wielding Son Are Compensable

In a split decision involving bizarre circumstances, a Pennsylvania appellate court recently held that a woman employed under a state-funded program to provide attendant care services at her residence for her adult son, and who was brutally attacked by the knife-wielding son while she slept, may recover workers' compensation benefits for her injuries.  Reversing a decision by the state's Workers' Compensation Appeal Board and quoting Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, the appellate court relied upon the bunkhouse rule to hold that the mother’s injuries arose out of and in the course of her employment.  The son, who needed care because his leg had been amputated, had previously suffered from drug dependency, but had shown no signs of violent behavior.  The appellate court reasoned that the mother's attendant care duties required that she be on the premises.  That she was sleeping and not performing actual services at the time of the attack did not control.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See O’Rourke v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Gartland), 2014 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 38 (Jan. 8, 2014) [2014 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 38 (Jan. 8, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 24.03 [24.03]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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