Case name: Pla v. Orange County, 19 FLWCLB 34 (Fla. JCC, Orlando 2012).
Ruling: A Florida judge of compensation claims held that a worker was not entitled to compensation for the injuries he sustained when he fell at work.
What it means: In Florida, a worker's failure to pinpoint why or where he fell at work can make it difficult for him to show that his employment caused his injuries.
Summary: A custodian fell while walking from his assigned work location to the check-in room. He claimed that he felt something like water and then slipped and fell. He landed on his right hip. His supervisor testified that just after the incident, he looked for any foreign objects as the source of the fall but could not locate any. An expert medical advisor opined that the custodian suffered from preexisting neurological conditions, which led him to have a slip-and-fall injury. The JCC denied benefits.
The JCC noted that the claimant had memory problems, so he gave lesser weight to the custodian's testimony. Also, the hospital medical records reflected a history of a fall but also that the custodian did not know whether he tripped or blacked out. The custodian could not determine exactly why he fell. The JCC concluded that he fell because of an unknown cause.
The JCC went on to find that the custodian failed to prove that the employment exposed him to conditions that would substantially contribute to an increased risk of injury and to which he would not normally be exposed during his nonemployment life.
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May 17, 2012
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