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Dawn Atkin

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Work related injuries are paid through workers compensation.  Utah Code Ann. 34A-2-401 says that an employee who is injured by accident arising out of and in the course of the employee's employment, wherever such injury occurred, if the accident was not purposely self-inflicted, shall be paid.  This is an easy evaluation when a roofer falls off  roof.  But there are three odd situations which have been found do not meet this statutory requirement:

    1.  The coming and going rule says we are not in the scope and course of our employment on the way to and from work.  But there are numerous exceptions such as: a work related errand, travel to work is hazardous,  business trips are covered 24/7, they are on the clock or working on the way (cell phones), and they work from home before going into the office.

    2.  Horseplay at work is not within the scope and course of employment.  But this rule is very fact specific.  When the injured worker is ambushed by someone else's horseplay, or when the boss was aware of the horseplay and let it occur then the injured worker was within the scope of his employment and workers compensation benefits are covered. 

    3.  Idiopathic fall doctrine says that fainting, seizures, heart attacks or other non-work related conditions do not fall within the scope and course of employment just because they happen at work.  However, if the workplace puts someone in a hazardous place (ie: heights, sharp corners, driving a vehicle) that results in injury from the idiopathic fall, then the injury from the fall is covered by workers compensation.  Heart attacks and similar medical problems also become work related when the work places extraordinary stress or activity on the injured worker and triggers the event.

K. Dawn Atkin
Attorney with Atkin & Associates
(801) 521-2552
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