Workers' Compensation

Idaho: Family Barred from Suing Employer for Wrongful Death in Spite of Safety Issues

Where an Idaho employee sustained fatal injuries when the exposed driveshaft of her employer’s “picking table" caught her hair and pulled her into the machine, her family could not maintain a wrongful death action against the employer; the civil action was barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the state's Workers' Compensation Act [see Idaho Code Ann. §§ 72-209(1) and 72-211]. The evidence was clear that the employee was working in the scope of her employment at the time of the fatal accident. An exception to the exclusive remedy rule for in cases of "wilful or unprovoked physical aggression" against the employee [see provided by § 72-209(3)] did not apply since there was no evidence of offensive action or hostile attack by the employer. The Court acknowledged that the employer had been previously cited for violations by OSHA. The employer's picking table was not fully guarded, and the employer did not perform the required lockout/tagout procedures while employees, such as the decedent, cleaned the table. Nevertheless, there was insubstantial evidence of intentional injury.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Gomez v. Crookham Co., 2018 Ida. LEXIS 218 (Dec. 19, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 103.03.

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