Workers’ compensation claim denied for man hurt while smoking

Many employers in Minnesota include workers’ compensation as part of their benefits package to serve a dual purpose. First, it is a convenient protection for their employees should they ever find themselves injured on the job. Second, it also provides support and protection for the organization itself if they are facing legal consequences after an employee injury or workplace accident. What people should remember is that not all workers’ compensation claims are approved, especially if surrounding conditions are found to be outside of the control of the employer.

This is exactly what happened when a worker’s compensation claim was denied in Raleigh, North Carolina. A man who officials say works for the city, suffered a back injury when he fell from his truck while on his lunch break. The man assumed a supervisory role and was smoking inside of his vehicle when he began coughing uncontrollably. Upon exiting his vehicle, he fell down and hit the curb.

The man’s injuries prevented him from being able to return to work and he subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim. Investigators retraced the story and determined that the man’s actions could not be directly connected to his job. His injuries appeared to be a direct result of choices he had made, along with predetermined medical conditions including high blood pressure. His employer also disclosed that they had a policy in place that prohibited workers from smoking inside of company vehicles. As a result, the man’s claim was denied.

If someone has been injured on the job and is looking at filing a workers’ compensation claim, they may wish to rely on the professional experience of an attorney. This decision may enable them to effectively gather and organize helpful details that can be used in creating a compelling case to receive compensation.

Source: U.S. News, “Court: City Doesn’t Owe Worker Hurt While Smoking on Break,” Johnathan Drew, May 15, 2018

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