Employer's admission of liability hinders denial of compensability
Case name: Rodriguez v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office, No. 11CA1868 (Colo. Ct. App. 08/16/12).
Ruling: The Colorado Court of Appeals held that a coordinator was entitled to benefits for her unexplained fall.
What it means: In Colorado, an employer that initially admits liability but later seeks to withdraw its admission bears the burden of proving that the worker's injury did not arise out of her employment.
Summary: A special events coordinator fell while descending stairs to her office. She was injured and taken to the emergency room. A CT scan and an MRI revealed unruptured brain aneurysms. The employer initially admitted liability for the coordinator's disability and medical benefits. Later, it sought to withdraw its admission, arguing that her injuries did not arise out of her employment. The Colorado Court of Appeals held that she was entitled to benefits.
The court explained that generally a worker had the burden of establishing her claim. When a fall is unexplained, a worker can be denied benefits for failing to prove that her injuries arose out of her employment. Here, because the employer initially admitted liability, it had the burden of proving that her injury did not arise out of her employment. The administrative law judge's finding that the coordinator's fall was unexplained showed that the employer did not meet its burden.
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October 29, 2012
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