The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia recently affirmed a decision by the state’s Board of Review that had denied workers’ compensation benefits to a secretary who hurt her wrist and shoulder while helping a contract employee of the employer lift a box of maternity clothes that had apparently been returned to the contract employee by another co-worker. The clothes were not related to the jobs performed by any of the workers and had been left in the secretary’s office for the sake of convenience. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the high court indicated that with regard to injuries that occur while rendering aid to a co-employee, “[i]f the aid takes the form of merely helping the co-employee with some matter entirely personal to the co-employee, it is outside the course of employment, unless the deviation involved is insubstantial.” The secretary argued that the employer benefitted by having a convivial work environment, where one employee helped another. The court noted that this was a “marginal case in terms of compensability” and that reasonable minds could certainly differ, but that the court could not simply substitute its judgment for that of the Board of Review.
Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.
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See Morton v. West Va. Office of Ins. Comm’r, 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 1014 (Oct. 4, 2013) [2013 W. Va. LEXIS 1014 (Oct. 4, 2013)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 27.01 [27.01]
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law
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