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Bizarre Workers’ Comp Cases of 2016

Hand about to bang gavel on sounding block in the court room.jpeg

Workers' comp attorneys in Las Vegas and those throughout the country handle a variety of these types of cases, and their details can occasionally be downright bizarre. The following are four strange cases of 2016:

Fall from tree caused by horseplay

Haney v. Fabricated Pipe, Inc.

A pipefitter was seriously injured when he fell around 25 feet from the top of a tree at work. However, the State Court of Appeals ruled he was engaging in inappropriate horseplay at the time, so his injuries didn't arise from and come about because of his employment. In fact, his duties didn't involve climbing trees, and his co-workers told him he should climb down. Instead, the pipefitter shook the tree, making it break and causing his own fall.

Videotape sinks hotel employee's claim

Witham v. Intown Suites Louisville Northeast, LLC

A former hotel employee claimed her former employer fired her because she filed a worker's compensation claim. However, a videotape revealed a strange incident in which she argued with a hotel guest who complained about a vending machine, taunting him and blocking him when he tried to leave. She pushed him into a wall, clawing at his face, and he eventually slammed her to the ground, kicked her, and left. After trying to claim work-related injuries, she was fired after the tape was viewed, and her case was promptly rejected at the summary judgment level.

Angry thoughts don't constitute misconduct

Cory Fairbanks Mazda v. Minor

A worker had been injured twice by the same co-worker, and after the second injury, she received medical care and was receiving worker's compensation benefits. She told her attorney she thought her co-worker injured her intentionally, so she felt like "punching the lights" out of him. Her employer fired her as a result and asked that her worker's compensation benefits be terminated because she was fired for misconduct. A psychiatrist described her comments as simply "blowing off steam," and the Court ruled the employer didn't prove misconduct, so she was still entitled to her worker’s compensation benefits.

Fake robbery attempt costs employer $360,000

See Lee v. West Kern Water District

An employee was approached by a man wearing a ski mask who slammed a bag down on the counter. The employee was given a note that said, "I have a gun. Put your money in the bag." She gave him the money, and after he left, the employee began shaking and crying. The incident wasn’t a robbery at all, but was instead an employer-staged security exercise. The Court found in her favor after she said she was physically assaulted and suffered emotional distress, and she was awarded $360,000.

Contact workers' comp attorneys, GGRM

If you’ve been injured at work, contact worker' comp attorneys in Las Vegas, Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez at 702-388-GGRM (4476) for a free consultation. With over 40 years in practice, GGRM will provide you with expert legal advice while walking you step by step through the legal process.

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