Pennsylvania: Court Agrees That Worker’s Death Was Suicide, Not Unexplained Accident

Pennsylvania: Court Agrees That Worker’s Death Was Suicide, Not Unexplained Accident

In an unpublished opinion, a Pennsylvania appellate court has affirmed a finding by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board that found a worker’s death did not arise out of and in the course of the employment where shortly before decedent’s body was found in a water tank that was surrounded by a guard rail, he had eaten lunch with a co-worker, showed no signs of personal troubles or other concerns, and merely stated that he was going to the bathroom, but instead traversed a steep bank and somehow got over the guard rail and into the water.  The employer contended the death was a suicide.  The WCJ found that decedent’s job duties did not require him to be near the water tank.  The WCJ described decedent’s actions as “deliberate, extreme and of an inherently high-risk nature.”  The appellate court held those findings were supported by competent evidence.

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 Brooks v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (West Goshen Township), 2014 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 431 (July 16, 2014)[2014 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 431 (July 16, 2014)]

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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