Larson’s Spotlight on Slip and Fall Cases

Larson’s Spotlight on Slip and Fall Cases

Here's a recap of the top cases involving slip and fall this past year. Thomas A. Robinson has the week off. His Larson's Spotlight blog will return next week.

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

LA: Claim for Acute Appendicitis From Fall Down Staircase Fails

A Louisiana appellate court recently affirmed a finding that had granted an employer police department's motion for summary judgment in connection with a claim filed by a police officer who contended she sustained injury in the form of acute appendicitis after falling down a staircase at her police station.  Noting that the claimant's medical expert had hedged in his testimony, indicating he could not say what actually had caused claimant's appendicitis, the court indicated that at best the evidence was evenly balanced between there being a work-related cause of the injury and a contrary finding that the appendicitis had no such connection.  That some medical literature indicated blunt trauma could be a cause of acute appendicitis was not controlling; that literature indicated such instances were rare.

See Garcia v. City of New Orleans Police Dep't, 2013 La. App. LEXIS 649 (Apr. 3, 2013) [2013 La. App. LEXIS 649 (Apr. 3, 2013)].

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 130.06 [130.06].

VA: In Spite of Close Proximity of Parking Lot to Employer's Premises, No Recover for Slip and Fall on Ice

An employee's injury, when she slipped and fell on a patch of ice in a parking lot near her employer's premises was not compensable, held a Virginia appellate court recently, where the employee was free to park where she pleased-whether in the lot where she was injured, a different nearby parking lot, or on the street-where the employee had no reserved parking space, and where members of the public also used the parking lot in question. The court added that the parking lot did not constitute "'in practical effect a part of the employer's premises, nor did the employer exercise any "control or authority" over where appellant parked. Claimant's injury did not, therefore, occur in the course of her employment.

See Lane v. Emergency Veterinary Clinic, 2013 Va. App. LEXIS 127 (Apr. 23, 2013) [2013 Va. App. LEXIS 127 (Apr. 23, 2013)].

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 13.04 [13.04].

VA: Court Uses "Extended Premises Doctrine" to Justify Compensation in Slip and Fall Case

A registered nurse, who slipped and fell on a sidewalk that extended from a parking lot to an office building where her employer and a number of other tenants rented space, sustained a compensable injury that arose out of or in the course of her employment, held a Virginia appellate court recently.  Quoting Larson's Workers' Compensation Law and relying on past precedent, the court indicated that under the "extended premises doctrine" the walkway was "in practical effect" a part of the employer's premises in spite of its availability to the public at large.

See Capital Area Pediatrics, Inc. v. Eken, 2013 Va. App. LEXIS 141 (May 7, 2013) [2013 Va. App. LEXIS 141 (May 7, 2013)].

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 13.04 [13.04].

NC: Slip and Fall During Unpaid Lunch Break Sufficiently Connected to Employment to Support Claim

A North Carolina appellate court recently affirmed an award of benefits to an employee who slipped on some ice in the building that was leased and occupied by her employer.  Ice from an ice-maker had spilled out onto the floor.  The employee slipped as she walked from a bathroom toward her cubicle after an unpaid lunch break. The court found unconvincing the employer's contention that since plaintiff was injured on an unpaid lunch break, her employment was not a contributing proximate cause of the accident. Observing that the employee was injured in a common area of the building where employees were encouraged to go and that the employee was required to take an unpaid lunch break, the court found Dr. Larson's explanation of the personal comfort doctrine persuasive and adopted its reasoning [see Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 21.02].  The court noted that the employer was the main tenant of the building and controlled the activities that occurred inside. The court stated that "[i]f an employee is injured on premises owned or controlled by the employer on a lunch break, whether or not that break is paid, we hold that the circumstances are within "the course of" employment.

Mintz v. Verizon Wireless, 2012 N.C. App. LEXIS 1304 (Nov. 20, 2012) [2012 N.C. App. LEXIS 1304 (Nov. 20, 2012)]

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 21.02 [21.02].

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

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