Delaplaine Farm Center v. Crafton, No. CA10-994 (Ark. Ct. App. 03/09/11).
Ruling: The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that a worker's injuries resulting from an unexplained fall were compensable.
What it means: In Arkansas, when an unexplained fall occurs while a worker is on the job and performing his job duties, the resulting injury is compensable.
Summary: A worker was sitting in his auger truck awaiting the return of a loader truck so he could fill it up with fertilizer. When he saw the loader truck return, he stood up to get out of the truck. His next recollection was walking to the back of the truck and falling to his knees. He did not remember getting out of the truck and did not realize he had fallen until he saw gravel marks on his hand. He sustained fractures to his back and ribs. Lab results indicated acute renal failure. On the day of the accident, the temperature was in the 90s, but the worker denied feeling dehydrated. The worker also denied ever passing out and using alcohol on that day. The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that the cause of the fall was unexplained and the worker was entitled to benefits.
The employer argued that the worker's fall was idiopathic. The court disagreed. The worker said he did not know why he fell from his truck. A doctor testified that the renal failure was preexisting and caused the worker to black out and fall. The worker's primary care physician stated that the renal issues were not preexisting and were caused by the fall. The court accepted the primary care physician's opinion and said the exact reason for the fall was unexplained.
The court noted that even if the fall was idiopathic rather than unexplained, the employer could still not prevail since his work increased the dangerous effect of the accident.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
April 28, 2011
Copyright 2011© LRP Publications