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Salesperson tripped, injured by own dog awarded Workers' Comp - Oregon

A custom decorator selling window treatments and bedding for J. C. Penney & Co. spent much of her workweek traveling to appointments, meeting customers at their homes or working from her home. She was required to have an office in her car, where she kept fabric samples and pricing guides and was responsible for the care of excess products, which she stored in her garage.

Walking from the back door of her home to her garage to replace fabrics in her van she tripped over the dog, fracturing her right wrist. While Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation Board determined that Ms. Sandberg’s injury did not arise from her employment and denied her benefits, the state appellate court disagreed in its ruling. It said she worked from home as a condition of her employment, which benefited her employer. Therefore, her home and garage constitute her work environment and the injury arose from her employment.

Tailor swallows chicken bone during lunch entitled to Workers' Comp – New York

A tailor was eating lunch at his desk during his unpaid lunch break when a manager asked if the tailor could help him find a toothbrush to remove a stain from a garment. While talking with the manager, the tailor swallowed a chicken bone and had to have surgery to remove the bone and repair a perforation in his stomach. The New York Workers' Compensation Board held that the tailor's injuries, sustained when he swallowed a chicken bone while talking with a manager, arose out of and in the course of his employment.

Benefits of a worker who retired early after unsuccessfully returning to work with significant work restrictions are not limited - Tennessee

A factory worker for a food processing and packing company sustained compensable injuries to both arms while working and was diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and underwent surgery on her left arm. Continuing to have problems with her arms, she was restricted from lifting more than five pounds, and the company accommodated that restriction. While still under her surgeon's care and before achieving maximum medical improvement, the worker decided to retire shortly after she turned 65, earlier than she had planned.

While the company maintained that the worker retired voluntarily, the court disagreed. The worker attempted to return to work, and she worked with significant restrictions for four months and although there was no evidence that the company would not have been able to accommodate the worker's restrictions until her planned retirement date, working within the restrictions caused her to experience pain. Also, no evidence showed that her pain improved before reaching maximum medical improvement.

In an unpublished decision, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that the worker did not have a meaningful return to work, so her award of benefits was not limited to 1 1/2 times the impairment. The court also concluded that the worker was entitled to an award of 65% vocational permanent partial impairment to both arms.

Worker distributing porn eligible for benefits - Utah

An employee who injured his shoulder in 2006 was paid temporary disability benefits until his doctor released him for light duty work. After three months on light duty, the employer fired him for sending porn images via email and cell phones.

The insurer did not resume paying temporary disability benefits, arguing that light duty work was available but was constructively rejected because of bad acts resulting in termination.

An administrative law judge awarded benefits stating the employee didn't intentionally engage in misconduct to get fired. An appeals panel agreed, saying the employee did not refuse light duty work.

There’s more.  The ruling was based in part on an earlier ruling by the appeals court that an incarcerated employee was entitled to comp benefits.

Wal-Mart employees get class action certified in medical care suit - Colorado

A class action lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado alleging that Wal-Mart, its Workers' Compensation insurers and others unlawfully dictated and interfered with the medical treatment certain Wal-Mart employees received in conjunction with work-related injuries has been granted class action status. The class action lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart and others imposed policies that resulted in the denial of or delays in medical treatment related to on-the-job injuries for Wal-Mart employees.