How do work-related accidents go? The accident must be one that arose out of and in the course of employment and these words have to be given a broad and liberal interpretation. The injury must have been received while the employee was performing the job he was hired for; it must be one of the risks connected with the employment and stemming out of it as a natural consequence and directly connected with the job or an unavoidable incident of the work.
ACTS OF GOD – It is increasingly being held that an injury caused by such acts as earthquake, wind, storms, lighting, are causally related to the employment if it is shown that the employment increased the risk of such exposure and the employment necessitated the presence of the injure person at the place where the accident occurred.
ASSAULTS – The aggressor defense is being abolished by the courts. Nevertheless, if the injury was sustained in a fight then the assault must still be related to the risk and the hazards of the job and has to be a natural outgrowth of the associations’ peculiar to and inseparable from the job. An act that is privately motivated, is purely personal, represents willful misconduct and is deliberate and premeditated will still be held to be non-compensable.
BARS TO COMPENSATION – An injury is not compensable when an employee, in addition to doing something not incidental to his work, conducts himself in such a manner that it becomes a bar to compensation. Here are a few examples: Willful intention to injure himself or another; intoxication; violation of employer’s rules or orders; violation of law.
A. Willful intention to injure self or another: If suicide is involved, the carrier must establish that the suicide was not an uncontrollable impulse associated with the accident. Cases involving assault fall into this category of willful intention to injure another.
B. Intoxication: In these cases the company must prove that the injury was solely occasioned by the intoxication of the injured employee.
C. Violation of rules or orders: It must be noted in these cases that there is a distinguishing element between doing work in a manner forbidden and injury at work absolutely forbidden by the employer. An employee may do work in a reckless or careless fashion, yet this would not bar him from collecting compensation. It must be shown that an employer strictly enforces his rules or orders in order to prove that the injured employee violated them.
D. Violation of Law: an employee injured while employed in an unlawful occupation, cannot be awarded compensation. Injured and disabled workers are denied compensation while in prison since they no longer have the status of injure employee, being under another statute, and being civilly dead.
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