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6 Unusual Workers’ Comp Cases

Worker’s compensation provides much-needed help for employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. This can occasionally result in some unusual cases, including these six claims:

  1. Man vs. Vending Machine

    At a Circuit City store, an employee attempted to dislodge a snack from a malfunctioning vending machine by bumping it with his hip and shoulder. He was seriously injured as a result.
    The court ruled in his favor. The machine was known to frequently malfunction, and there were no signs warning employees not to shake or strike it.
  2. The Jealous Husband

    A grocery store assistant manager called a co-worker at home about a work issue. The co-worker’s husband thought they were having an affair and contacted the man’s supervisor. He even hired someone to kill him. This plot was unsuccessful, but the manager’s pre-existing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was worsened.
    He won his claim because the events were set in motion by a work-related phone call.
  3. Pot and Bears Shouldn’t Mix

    An employee was mauled by a grizzly bear he was trying to feed at Great Bear Adventures park. Complicating the issue somewhat was the fact that he had smoked marijuana that morning. The park blamed the employee’s drug use for his injuries.
    The Court ruled in the employee’s favor, determining his marijuana use was probably not a major contributing cause of the event.
  4. Dangerous Urination

    A Portland longshoreman drank a few beers in the morning and continued to drink throughout work. Not surprisingly, he had to urinate. He did so near a dock rail and fell six feet, suffering a gash to his temple.
    The Court ruled against this worker. His blood alcohol level was .25, well over the legal limit. Unlike the marijuana-smoking bear feeder case, the Court decided this employee’s drinking was the cause of his accident.
  5. Move Over, Rover!

    A woman regularly worked out of her home for her employer, J.C. Penney. She was walking to her garage to replace fabric samples that were in her van when she tripped over her dog, breaking a bone in her wrist.
    The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in her favor, finding her home sometimes served as her work environment, and she was injured in the course of work-related activities.
  6. Nigerian Investment Scam Argument

    A worker in Iowa was injured by her brother, who was also her co-worker. The family was involved in a complicated ongoing argument over the Nigerian investment scam that involved prosecution for tax fraud and threats. The brother claimed to have fallen into his sister accidentally.
    An Iowa Appellate Court ruled the brother’s actions were deliberate and for reasons unrelated to her employment, so his sister couldn’t receive worker’s compensation.
  7. The details of these cases may be a little humorous, but the injuries behind them aren’t a laughing matter to the people involved. If you’ve been injured or have gotten sick due to your workplace, contact the law firm of Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez for a free consultation at 702-388-4476. Also, download this checklist on steps to take after being injured on the job.