Case name: Meyer v. Nebraska Furniture Mart, No. 107,424 (Kan. Ct. App. 10/12/12, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kansas Court of Appeals held that a worker was not entitled to benefits for the leg injury he suffered when he fell at work.
What it means: In Kansas, a worker's unexplained fall while walking is a hazard to which the worker would have been equally exposed apart from the employment and is not compensable.
Summary: A worker for a furniture company was walking with a coworker across the warehouse floor when he fell to the floor. There was some testimony that the floor was slick, but the incident report and the coworker said that the worker's leg "just gave out." The worker told doctors that he felt pain in his leg and then fell to the floor. The worker underwent surgery to repair his femur. Three years later, he fell again at home and shattered his elbow, explaining that his "legs just gave out." He asserted that the fall at home was caused by the work accident. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The Kansas Court of Appeals held that he was not entitled to benefits.
The court said there was no dispute that the worker's injuries occurred while he was at work. The company argued that his injury was not compensable because his employment did not place him at an increased risk for the injury that occurred. The court explained that an unexplained fall while walking is a hazard to which the worker would have been equally exposed apart from the employment. There was no evidence that the worker was walking in any way different from what he would normally. The court pointed out that workers' compensation does not cover injuries that result from normal day-to-day activities.
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January 18, 2013
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