A Plus Home Health Care Inc. v. Miecznikowski, No. 93A02-1207-EX-558 (Ind. Ct. App. 12/14/12).
Ruling: The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a nurse was entitled to benefits for her injuries that arose from an unexplained fall.
What it means: In Indiana, unexplained falls are the result of a neutral risk and are therefore compensable.
Summary: A home health care nurse was visiting a patient at the patient's home when she realized that she left some medical equipment in her car. She returned to her car to retrieve the equipment. On her way back inside the patient's house, she lost her footing and fell on a concrete sidewalk. She explained that she didn't feel dizzy or lightheaded but she just lost her footing. The nurse injured her left arm and hand. She sought benefits. The Indiana Court of Appeals held that the nurse was entitled to benefits.
The court explained that the nurse presented evidence that her injuries were not the result of an illness or condition and were not the result of a personal risk. She also stated that her injuries were the result of her losing her footing. The employer agreed that the fall was caused by her tripping. Her injuries resulted from a neutral risk, so they were incidental to her employment and were compensable.
The employer argued that a risk was incidental to employment only if it was not one to which the public at large is exposed. The employer asserted that there was no evidence that the nurse's job increased her risk of falling. The court said that it was not true that injuries arising only from risks directly associated with employment are compensable. Injuries arising from neutral risks are also compensable.
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March 25, 2013
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