Virginia Court Denies Workers’ Compensation for Dean Injured in Hallway Fall (Insurance Journal)

Virginia Court Denies Workers’ Compensation for Dean Injured in Hallway Fall

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024 Education & Training Legislation & Regulation Litigation Workers' Compensation

Mary Pat O’Brien, the dean of nursing at Northern Virginia Community College, will not receive workers’ compensation benefits after a fall in a hallway. The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the denial, agreeing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) and a deputy commissioner. O’Brien argued that her fall was caused by a distraction from a colleague while walking to a meeting, resulting in a serious injury. However, the court found no evidence of an environmental factor contributing to the accident.

The court concluded that the injury did not arise out of her employment, stating that walking and turning were not employment-related risks. The WCC had previously determined that O’Brien’s action of turning to speak to a colleague was ordinary human behavior and did not constitute a work-related hazard. Additionally, there was no proof that holding work items contributed to her fall. The court ultimately ruled that her injury was an equal risk to anyone walking inattentively and did not warrant compensation benefits.

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