Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (4/8/2011)

Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (4/8/2011)

Larson's Spotlight on Going and Coming Rule, Heat-Related Illness, COPD Claim, Usual Employment, and Voluntary Severance. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.

TX: Fatal Injuries Occurring in Auto Accident While Traveling to Training Conference Were Not Barred by Going and Coming Rule

Affirming a decision by the state trial court denied an employer's summary judgment motion, a Texas appellate court has held that the death of an employee killed in a motor vehicle accident while driving to a job-related conference was within the course and scope of the employment and not barred by the going and coming rule, and that the accident occurred as the employee drove first to pick up another employee attending the conference did not alter the essential employment-related nature of the trip.  The employee was planning in attending a mandatory multi-day training conference and was driving an employer-issued vehicle at the time of the accident, and company policy dictated that the particular journey could not be accomplished by air travel. 

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Tex. App. LEXIS 2384. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 15.01.

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NC: Worker's Seizures Were Related to Hot Conditions of Employment

Where competent evidence supported the Industrial Commission's finding that a worker's heat-related illness was a significant contributing factor to his seizures, the Commission did not err in awarding temporary total disability benefits, held a North Carolina appellate court recently.  Dismissing the argument of the employer that the worker had failed to establish that the seizures he sustained at work were actually related to heat, the court noted that testimony indicated the temperature that day was 98 degrees, with 60 percent humidity, that the worker labored in a refuse "pit" that lacked significant air circulation, and that when the worker was taken to the hospital, he was diagnosed with heat stroke.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 N.C. App. LEXIS 611. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 5.04.

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IA: Worker's COPD Claim Fails Because of Equivocal Medical Evidence On Issue of Causation

Where there was perhaps some evidence that exposure to mold in the work place caused some aggravation of an employee's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an Iowa appellate court has affirmed a decision of a state district court that reversed the workers' compensation commissioner's award of permanent disability benefits on the ground that the employee failed to show a causal connection between the mold and any worsening of her COPD.  Indicating that occasional "flares" of symptoms did not equate to permanent disability and observing that the medical testimony offered by the employee was equivocal, the appellate court agreed that the necessary causal link had not been established by the employee.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Iowa App. LEXIS 229. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 128.05.

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MS: Presumption of 100 Percent Impairment Where Worker Unable to Return to "Usual Employment" is Not a Rigid Concept

Construing Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-17(c), which generally allows a presumption of 100 percent industrial loss when a worker proves he or she can no longer perform the substantial acts of his or her usual employment, a Mississippi appellate court has ruled that the term "usual employment" is broader in scope that the job held at the time of the injury, and includes jobs in which a claimant has past experience, jobs requiring similar skills, or jobs for which the claimant is otherwise suited by age, experience, education, and other factors.  Accordingly, the court held that it was error to award a 100 percent industrial loss to the left leg of a police officer where medical evidence indicated he had sustained a 25% medical impairment to his left leg and where the claimant, after leaving his patrolman job, took a better position as a warrant officer with another police department, was eventually promoted to the Investigations Unit, and was paid $10,000 more annually than he enjoyed at the time of his injury. 

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Miss. App. LEXIS 181. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 81.01.

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OH: Separation From Work Was Voluntary Where Injured Worker Signed Severance Agreement

Where an injured worker, upon returning to work, signed a "Voluntary Severance Candidacy Acknowledgement," whereby he volunteered to accept a voluntary severance offering offered by the employer, the injured worker could not later claim his departure was not voluntary, held an Ohio appellate court recently.  Noting that the statement signed by the worker indicated that the severance "had nothing to do" with his workers' compensation claim, the court concluded the worker was not due additional benefits.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 1390. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 84.04.

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

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