Many workers assume that they are able to be compensated if they suffer from work-related injury or illness, and generally speaking, they are right. There are some exceptions to that general rule, though, and the reality is that some injuries and illnesses are compensable and others are not.
In particular, the consideration of a worker’s normal conditions of employment is important in determining the compensability of a workers’ compensation claim. Under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act, employers are responsible for compensating workers for injuries and injuries which occur “in the course of employment.” For some workers, that which falls within the course of employment is fairly easy to identify, while for other workers it is not.
A recent workers’ compensation appeal decided by Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court took on this issue in a case involving a liquor store worker who was robbed at gunpoint and subsequently struggled with post-traumatic stress, for which he sought compensation. The case was ultimately decided in favor of the worker because the traumatizing robbery was not a normal working condition for him. The outcome in the case was similar to the outcome of a previous case involving a state trooper who was traumatized after crashing into a woman who ran in front of his cruiser. That incident was also was deemed to be outside his normal working conditions.
The cases bring up the important issue of when workplace injuries are compensable and when they are not. Again, state law covers any injury, illness or disease that occurs in the course of employment, but exactly what this means is not always clear in every workers’ compensation case, though. In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at this issue.
Source: pennlive.com, “State liquor store manager deserves workers comp over trauma from armed robbery, Pa. court says,” Matt Miller, Dec. 30, 2015.