Workers' Compensation

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 as she pivoted and stepped down near a small ramp, hitting her knee. The second fall occurred moments later when she fell forward, landing on her knee, as she attempted to get up from a wheelchair in which she had been sitting after her first fall. The third fall occurred in the employer’s parking lot, as she attempted to leave the premises and seek additional medical treatment. The employer contended the initial fall, if it occurred at all, was idiopathic, related to the employee’s obesity, or caused by her ingestion of strong pain medication (hydrocodone). The employer contended the other falls were exaggerated and an attempt on the part of an employee to feign injury. The majority indicated that even if the employee had a preexisting condition, a fact that had not been found by the Commission, the employee’s fall aggravated any alleged preexisting condition, thereby making it (or them) compensable. As to the strong pain medication—which she denied taking prior to coming to work—the majority indicated that it was up to the Commission to make any decision related to credibility. It had done so. Substantial evidence supported the Commission’s findings.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Firestone Building Prods. v. Hopson, 2013 Ark. App. 618, 2013 Ark. App. LEXIS 642 (Oct. 30, 2013) [2013 Ark. App. LEXIS 642 (Oct. 30, 2013)]

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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