Legal Corner

benefits – Pennsylvania

A construction worker who was severely injured during an ill-fated rescue attempt trying to help a co-worker who had fallen into a concrete pit full of methane gas was within the course and scope of his employment when he sustained injuries, according to the Commonwealth Court. While trying to climb out of the pit, he lost consciousness and fell about 20 feet to the bottom, according to records. While the employer, Pipeline Systems, argued that the injured worker had abandoned the course and scope of his employment, the court noted that the employee was engaged in the furtherance of (Pipeline Systems’) business or affairs and that the Act provides an employee who, while in the course and scope of his employment, goes to the aid of a person and suffers injury or death as a direct result of …rendering emergency care, first aid or rescue at the scene of an emergency is entitled to benefits. Pipeline Sys., Inc. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Pounds), 2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 286 (July 7, 2015)

Painter is employee before signing independent contractor agreement and entitled to benefits – Pennsylvania

The adage, “timing is everything” is apropos here. The owner of Lee’s Metal Roof Coatings & Painting forgot to have a painter sign an independent contractor’s agreement and on the third day of employment, the painter fell off a roof and struck his head on the sidewalk, and underwent surgeries on his left ankle and right knee later in the month. Although the painter later signed the agreement, it didn’t change employment status because “a written contract for services did not exist at the time of (his) injury.”

Statute for reinstatement extended when collecting for different injury – Pennsylvania

An employee who suffers two totally disabling injuries, either of which would have entitled him to total disability benefits, cannot receive benefits for both at the same time. Instead, pursuant to Kane v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Glenshaw Glass), he must receive compensation for one totally disabling injury in lieu of receiving compensation for the other totally disabling injury at the same time. Should circumstances change, the employee may seek reinstatement under Section 413(a) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 772, within three years after the date of the most recent payment of compensation received in lieu of compensation for the other injury, to which he otherwise would have been entitled.

Deputy involved in shootout receives $185,000 Workers’ Compensation settlement – Tennessee

In spite of differing testimony from psychiatrists, a former Anderson County Sheriff’s Office deputy involved in a shoot-out where two people were killed has received an $185,000 workers’ compensation settlement based on a claim of post-traumatic stress disorder arising from the shootout. One psychiatrist later said the deputy was “malingering” and that he began complaining about post-traumatic stress only after he was the focus of a sexual abuse investigation.

 

Autopsy report reveals the presence of THC, benefits denied – Texas

A Texas appellate court affirmed a trial court’s decision that a truck driver’s death in a vehicular accident did not arise out of and in the course of the employment where an autopsy report revealed the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the driver’s blood and urine tests. The burden to prove that he or she was not intoxicated at the time of the accident was not proved by the employee’s representative. Denham v. Texas Mut. Ins. Co., 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 7281 (July 15, 2015)

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