Workers' Compensation

    • 14 Feb 2014

    Virginia: Employee’s Large Feet Help Establish His Claim

    A Virginia appellate court recently affirmed a decision by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission that awarded benefits to a convenience store employee who claimed he sustained a severe fracture of the foot when he stepped down from a stool after stocking his shelves in the store’s cooler. Observing that Virginia employs the actual risk test under which “the causative danger must be peculiar...
    • 14 Feb 2014

    Hawaii: Aggravation of Asthma by “Vog”—Volcanic Smog—Found Compensable

    Vacating a decision by the state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Hawaii recently held that an employee’s claim for the aggravation of his asthma resulting from alleged work-related exposure to volcanic smog—a combination of weather, wind conditions and volcanic activity—and commonly referred to within the state as “vog,” was compensable. Quoting Larson’s...
    • 8 Feb 2014

    Missouri: Crack In Pavement Found To Be a Work Hazard

    Everyone knows stepping on a crack can break your mother’s back. Can a step on a crack get you comp benefits in Missouri? The Court of Appeals affirmed a commission award for benefits in Dorris v Stoddard County , SD 32830 (Jan. 31, 2014), 2014 MO App. Lexis 94 (lexis.com) 2014 MO App. Lexis 94 (Lexis Advance). Claimant was on the clock performing her job duties when she crossed between two buildings owned by...
    • 7 Feb 2014

    Nebraska: Bartender’s Fall After Consuming Multiple Shots Dooms Comp Claim

    A Nebraska appellate court recently affirmed the dismissal of an employee’s claim for benefits based on a finding that the employee was intoxicated at the time of his accident and that his intoxication was a proximate cause of the accident and resulting injuries. The employee worked at a sports pub, sometimes in the kitchen, sometimes in the bar. One evening, while he helped customers and his co-workers, he consumed...
    • 7 Feb 2014

    Missouri: Trip and Fall on Public Street Found Compensable

    A Missouri appellate court recently affirmed an decision of the state’s Labor and Industrial Relations Commission that awarded workers’ compensation benefits to an employee who sustained injuries when she tripped on a crack in the street while walking back to her office after going to look at a new office building her employer was having constructed. The employee, along with her supervisor and another worker...
    • 7 Feb 2014

    Colorado: High Court Adopts Positional Risk Test for Unexplained Falls

    The Supreme Court of Colorado, in a divided decision, recently affirmed a decision of the state’s Court of Appeals, but on different grounds, holding that an "unexplained fall" satisfies the "arising out of" employment requirement in § 8-41-301(1)(c), C.R.S. (2013), if the fall would not have occurred but for the fact that the conditions and obligations of employment placed the employee...
    • 31 Jan 2014

    Maryland: Going and Coming Rule Does Not Bar Recovery in Motorcycle Accident

    Travel that is incident to the employment cannot be excluded from the course and scope of the employment by the ordinary going and coming rule, held a Maryland appellate court recently. Accordingly, it vacated a decision that had denied workers’ compensation benefits to a firefighter who sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident as he was en route from a work-related activity, engaging in physical training, to...
    • 24 Jan 2014

    New Jersey: Casino’s Own Surveillance Video Defeats Employer’s “Going & Coming” Argument

    In an unpublished decision, a New Jersey appellate court recently held that a casino’s security surveillance video supported the employee’s claim that at the time of a vehicular accident, in which she was injured, a small portion of her SUV was still on the employer’s property; her claim was accordingly not barred by the “going and coming” rule. The video revealed that while the employee...
    • 10 Jan 2014

    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...
    • 3 Jan 2014

    Minnesota: High Court Stresses Employee Must Prove Both “Arising out of” and “In the Course of” Employment to Establish Claim

    A deeply divided Supreme Court of Minnesota recently held that the plain language of Minn. Stat. § 176.021 requires the employee to demonstrate that the injury arises out of and in the course of the employment, that in order to establish a claim the employee bears the burden of proof on both the “arising out of” and the “in the course of” elements; the statute does not leave room for the so...
    • 8 Nov 2013

    AR: Court Rejects Employer’s Contention That Preexisting Condition Or Hydrocodone Medication Was Cause of Employee’s Falls

    Quoting the discussion in Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law related to idiopathic falls, a divided Arkansas appellate court recently affirmed a finding by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission that awarded benefits to an employee who contended she sustained a serious knee injury when she mysteriously fell three times at work within a short period of time. She contended the first fall occurred...
    • 31 Oct 2013

    Do That To Me One More Time……..Australian Sex Case Reversed As To Course and Scope

    You just have to love that rare and special intersection where our law practice comes smack up against a little afternoon delight. My posts of 4/23/12 (Kangaroo Court) , 4/25/12 (A Roll in the Hay) , and 4/27/12 (A Head-Banging Good Time) heralded the Australian work comp decision where a female employee was awarded benefits for a head injury sustained during rough sex with a paramour. This week I heard from John Ellis...
    • 18 Oct 2013

    VA: Police Officer’s Trip and Fall in Parking Lot Not Compensable

    Indicating that it was utilizing the “actual risk” test, yet describing what is essentially the “increased risk” test, a Virginia appellate court recently held that injuries sustained by a police officer as he tripped over a cement parking block near a retaining wall, suffering a contusion to his right knee and a ligament tear which ultimately required corrective surgery, did not arise out and...
    • 4 Oct 2013

    Wawa and the Warehouse: Mixed Bag Results on Course & Scope in Delaware

    Today is all about me……. (Just kidding.... well, kinda, sorta)….. I offer you two very recent rulings on course and scope, both of which are mine. In the interest of parity, and lest you think I only profile my wins, we have one which was a winner and one which was a loser. And as I am writing this I am prepping for yet a third course and scope hearing on Monday, no doubt one which you will be hearing...
    • 20 Sep 2013

    California: “Required Vehicle” Exception to Going and Coming Rule May Be Utilized in 3rd Party’s Negligence Action Against Employer

    Under California’s “required vehicle” exception to the going and coming rule, injuries sustained during the commute are said to arise out of and in the course of the employment if the employer required the employee to utilize her personal vehicle to get to work and back home in order that the employee might also be able to make other work-related trips during the day. Compensability of such injuries...
    • 6 Sep 2013

    Kentucky: Fall on Snow-covered Sidewalk Outside Employer’s Premises Found Compensable

    The Supreme Court of Kentucky, citing one of its earlier decisions that extensively quoted Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law regarding the going and coming rule, recently affirmed a decision by an ALJ, the Board, and the state’s Court of Appeals that a medical billing associate sustained a compensable accident when she slipped and fell on some snow that had accumulated on a sidewalk outside the building...
    • 30 Aug 2013

    New Mexico: Off-Duty Police Officer’s Drowning During Rescue Effort Found Work-Related

    A police officer, outside his jurisdiction, and on a personal day trip near the Rio Grande, who drowned while undertaking the rescue of a drowning child, sustained fatal injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment, held a New Mexico appellate court recently. Citing Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law , the court stressed that given the unique expectation placed upon police officers to officially...
    • 16 Aug 2013

    Pennsylvania: Shortness of Deviation Time Not Determinative to Claim

    Reversing a decision by the state's Workers' Compensation Appeal Board that, in turn, had affirmed a judge's award of workers' compensation benefits to a claimant who sustained serious injuries to his thumb when he stepped away from his post for a few minutes to polish a bolt for his child's go-cart, a Pennsylvania appellate court recently held that regardless of whether the employer permitted claimant...
    • 9 Aug 2013

    Texas: Compensable Heart Attack Need Not Occur During Work Hours

    A Texas appellate court, construing Tex. Lab. Code Ann. § 408.008(1), that generally requires that in order for a heart attack to be compensable, it must be identified as having occurred at “a definite time and place” and must have been caused by “a specific event occurring in the course and scope of the employee's employment,” held that there is nothing in the plain language of the statute...
    • 2 Aug 2013

    Pennsylvania: “Premises” Cannot Be Extended to Cover Slip & Fall on College Campus Walkway

    A Pennsylvania appellate court recently held that the state’s Appeal Board erred when it awarded workers’ compensation benefits to a painter injured in a fall as he walked toward a train station at the end of his workday. A painting contractor employed the painter. In turn, the contractor contracted with a university to paint various dormitories. The employer assigned the painter to one such facility. The...
    • 2 Aug 2013

    Wisconsin: Maintenance Worker’s Slip and Fall on Driveway Ice Held Compensable

    A Wisconsin appellate court recently affirmed a Commission decision to grant workers’ compensation coverage for injuries a worked sustained when he slipped on ice in his driveway. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law and agreeing with the worker that he had been injured while completing a “special errand,” the appellate court indicated that since the worker’s trip was an integral...
    • 30 Jul 2013

    Crockpots and Paychecks and Dismissals, Oh My! A Recent Course & Scope Ruling from DE

    What do a crockpot and a paycheck have in common? In this case they were two items that brought the claimant into her employer, Boscovs, on her day off. And this being my case on behalf of the employer, the fact that claimant used her employee discount to purchase a crockpot warms my heart. That said, my heart was not quite warm enough to suggest that Boscovs accept this claim. So we went to a Legal Hearing on July...
    • 27 Jul 2013

    Missouri: No Future Medical From Pig Work

    The Commission reversed an award for future medical benefits to a pig farm worker with Legionnaire’s Disease who lapsed into a coma and spent 6 weeks unconscious. Navis v Premium Standard Farms, 2013 MOWCLR Lexis 128 (lexis.com), 2013 MOWCLR Lexis 128 (Lexis Advance) (July 18, 2013). Navis in 2002 worked around pigs and lots of them. She worked 6 years in Mercer County, Missouri for Premium Standard Farms and...
    • 26 Jul 2013

    OHIO: Lapse of Time Between Incident and Treatment Amplifies Need for Expert Testimony on Causation

    It is often said that just as the “instantaneous nature of an observed causal progression is a familiar element in cases dispensing with medical testimony, so a delay between the accident and the symptoms, disability or death diminishes any such self-evident causal relation [Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 128.05]. Accordingly, an Ohio appellate court recently affirmed a trial court’s...
    • 26 Jul 2013

    South Dakota: Fatal Shooting in Employer’s Parking Lot Held Not Compensable

    The Supreme Court of South Dakota, affirming a decision by the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation, recently denied a death benefits claim filed by the personal representative of a woman shot and killed by her husband as she sat in her car in the employer’s parking lot during a regularly scheduled morning break one day after she had filed for divorce. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation...