Business owner secures benefits for slip and fall on black ice
Case name: Duever v. All Outdoors, Inc., No. ED97596 (Mo. Ct. App. 05/15/12).
Ruling: The Missouri Court of Appeals held that a business owner was entitled to benefits for the injuries he sustained when he fell on black ice in the parking lot.
What it means: In Missouri, a worker can be entitled to benefits if he is performing a direct function of his employment and is injured due to an unsafe condition over which he had no control.
Summary: The owner of a landscaping and ice removal business arrived at a warehouse the business leased. He held a safety meeting with employees to discuss the importance of maintaining taillights on company trailers. The meeting was held in the parking lot outside the warehouse during which he demonstrated how to wire a trailer's taillights. After the demonstration, he began walking back inside when he slipped on a patch of black ice. He fell on his left shoulder and hit his head.
The following day he had an appointment with his endocrinologist for treatment of his diabetes but he did not mention the fall. He sought treatment for his shoulder one month later. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The Missouri Court of Appeals held that the owner was entitled to benefits.
The court determined that an accident occurred because medical records showed that the owner's injuries were sustained as a result of the fall and that he was treated for the injury. The fact that the owner did not report his injury to his endocrinologist did not diminish his credibility.
The business asserted that the owner's injury did not arise from a hazard or risk related to his employment to which he would have been equally exposed to outside of and unrelated to his employment. The business argued that the risk of walking on ice in a parking lot was one that the owner would have been equally exposed to in daily life. The court disagreed, stating that the owner was performing a direct function of his employment when he was instructing his employees in the icy parking lot on the importance of properly functioning taillights on company trailers. He had no control over the unsafe condition in the parking lot since the owner of the lot hired another company to remove ice.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 9, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications