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Workers' Compensation

Virginia: “Actual Risk” Rule Bars Employee’s Claim for Slip and Fall on Workplace Steps

Again indicating that Virginia’s “actual risk” doctrine results in the denial of claims in which an employee sustains injuries in a fall in an unobstructed hallway or on steps located in the employer’s premises unless the claimant can show some defect or special hazard, a state appellate court affirmed a decision by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission that had denied the compensability of claimant’s slip and fall injury. She contended that the steps were covered in aa “pink plastic covering”—the employer indicated the steps had a non-skid coating—and she could not attribute her fall to anything wet on the stairs. The court noted that the employee was not subject to a risk of injury any greater than the public at large. She had offered no real explanation, indicated that she “just fell.” Under those circumstances, the Virginia rule barred recovery. 

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and 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 Mercedes v. NSR Solutions, Inc., 2021 Va. App. LEXIS 115 (July 13, 2021)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 3.04.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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