South Carolina: Injuries From Unexplained Fall on Level, Carpeted Hallway Were Not Compensable

Returning to a difficult issue, determining the compensability of injuries suffered in a fall while walking on a flat, uncluttered area of the employer’s premises, a divided South Carolina appellate court recently reversed a decision of the Appellate Panel of the state’s Workers' Compensation Commission's that had found that a claimant sustained compensable injuries to her neck, back, and left shoulder when she fell while walking in a carpeted hallway of her workplace.  Acknowledging that the claimant testified that she fell because of the friction between the carpet and her shoes, the majority held that she had failed to establish a causal connection between her injuries and the workplace.  Reinstating the decision of the single commissioner that had denied compensation, the majority, citing Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, held that no special condition existed at the time of the injury. The claimant faced no increased risk as she walked down the level, carpeted hallway. The only fact connecting her fall to her employment was that her injuries occurred while she was working in a carpeted area of the employer’s building.  Given that the burden of proof was on the claimant, proximity within the premises was insufficient.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

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See Nicholson v. South Carolina Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 2013 S.C. App. LEXIS 214 (Sept. 4, 2013) [2013 S.C. App. LEXIS 214 (Sept. 4, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 7.04 [7.04]

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

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