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North Carolina: Injuries Sustained After Choking on E-Cigarette Not Compensable

May 18, 2018 (1 min read)

Stressing the crucial difference between an “unexplained” fall and an “idiopathic” fall, a North Carolina appellate court affirmed the denial of benefits to a municipal worker who suffered injuries when he fainted and collapsed after getting choked on an e-cigarette. Noting that the Commission’s denial had been based upon its finding that the worker’s fainting and fall resulted from the worker’s idiopathic conditions — extreme hypertension, highly elevated blood sugar levels, and a vasovagal reaction to his coughing and choking upon taking his first puff of the e-cigarette — and not to work-related risks, the appellate court agreed that substantial evidence supported the finding that the worker’s injuries did not arise out of and in the course of the employment. 

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 Brooks v. City of Winston-Salem, 2018 N.C. App. LEXIS 504 (May 15, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 7.04.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see