Case name: Dixon v. CTA, 20 ILWCLB 38 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2011).
Ruling: The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission held that a train operator was not entitled to benefits for her alleged mental injury.
What it means: In Illinois, where a worker alleges a mental disability due to a nonphysical trauma, she must show that the psychological injury was caused by a sudden severe emotional shock traceable to a definite time, place, and cause, which resulted in psychological injury or harm.
Summary: A rapid transit train operator was approaching a station when she observed a man standing on the edge of the platform. As she pulled into the station, she heard a loud thump on the train. She stopped the train and looked out the window, but did not see anything unusual.
After pulling the train into the station, she saw a man lying face down on the platform. She said her heart was racing, she got a headache, and she felt faint. She called for help and approached the man, who pointed to his arm and said it hurt. After the incident, the operator could not return to work. She had trouble sleeping, a loss of appetite, and migraines. She filed a claim for a mental disability. The commission denied benefits, finding that she failed to meet the burden for a compensable mental-mental trauma.
There was no evidence that the passenger made contact with the train or had merely passed out on the platform.
The operator did not come upon a gruesome scene that one would consider a "sudden severe emotional shock."
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June 25, 2012
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