Carradine v. Regis Corp., No. 10-529 (La. Ct. App. 11/03/10).
Ruling: The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that a hairdresser was entitled to compensation for an injury that occurred while she was on a break.
What it means: In Louisiana, an employee typically remains in the course of her employment while she is on a permitted break.
Summary: A hairdresser worked in a salon located inside a retail store. On a break, she sat outside the store on a bench and smoked a cigarette. When she stood up, her pant leg caught on a chain-link fence, causing her to fall face-first to the ground. The hairdresser reported the incident immediately to her supervisor. She had neck pain that increased progressively from the time of the accident, and she sought benefits. The salon asserted that the hairdresser's injury did not arise out of or in the course of her employment. The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that the hairdresser was entitled to compensation for her injury. Although the hairdresser left the building during her break, she did not leave the premises. The location of the salon within the retail store caused her to take her break outside. Additionally, her position required her to be on the store's premises more often than the general public.
The salon also argued that the hairdresser's neck pain resulted from a preexisting condition. The court noted that evidence showed that the hairdresser's symptoms from a prior accident subsided after treatment. The salon did not present evidence that her injuries could not have been caused by her fall.
The court also decided that unauthorized medical expenses incurred before the hairdresser decided to claim workers' compensation benefits should not be capped because the salon denied that she suffered a compensable injury.
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January 6, 2011
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