WORKERS COMP – Idiopathic workplace falls: Vacuum Depositing, Inc. v. Tamatha Dever (SC 6/25/2009)

Vacuum Depositing, Inc. v. Tamatha Dever
2008-SC-000853-WC June 25, 2009
Opinion of the Court. All sitting; all concur.

ALJ dismissed claimant’s application for benefits concluding that the claimant’s workplace fall was idiopathic and thus non-compensable because the evidence showed claimant was wearing high heel and admitted she was “clumsy.” The Board reversed on the grounds that the ALJ misapplied the law and the Court of Appeal affirmed.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals, noting that under Workman, unexplained falls were presumed to be work-related. Further, the Court held that the record contained (a) no evidence that the claimant suffered from any preexisting condition that caused the fall and (b) no evidence that claimant was engaged in conduct that would take her injury out of the workers’ compensation scheme or (c) no evidence that claimant’s footwear was inherently dangerous or inappropriate for her workplace. Since the evidence did not overcome the presumption that the fall was unexplained, it was work-related.

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