“Idiopathic” Falls Are Compensable in PA

“Idiopathic” in medical terms means “unknown cause.”  But in the workers’ compensation field, “idiopathic” means “unique to the individual.”

Pennsylvania is one of the few states that find an employee who suffers an “idiopathic fall” while on the job, can collect PA workers’ compensation benefits.   The two leading cases in PA that granted benefits for an “idiopathic fall” did not have similar fact patterns. 

In one case, the employee fell while on duty at her work station.  She sustained a serious head injury when her head struck the linoleum floor.  As a result of the fall,  she suffered frequent seizures and underwent two brain surgeries.  It was unclear how the fall occurred: if the employee had tripped or if she had fainted.  The Court held that it did not matter.  The Court accepted the conclusion that the employee’s head injury, resulting from her fall at work, caused uncontrollable seizures that rendered her disabled.  Workers’ compensation benefits were properly granted. 

In another leading case, the employee had an epileptic seizure while driving his car in his employer’s parking lot prior to the start of his workday.  The employee lost control of his car and crashed into a few cars before hitting a concrete abutment on employer’s premises.  He was killed in this tragic accident.  The PA Court found this accident compensable and the employee’s widow was awarded workers’ compensation benefits.  

Pennsylvania is in the minority in granting workers’ compensation benefits for idiopathic falls.  A majority of the states hold that if a employee has a personal condition that causes the employee to lose consciousness and faint or fall, the resulting injuries are compensable only if the work conditions contributed to the injuries sustained.  

DHS hit with immigration lawsuit

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.washingtonpost.com

Anibal Fuentes came to the United States illegally years ago, faced deportation proceedings in December and was ordered to leave the country. Now, he is among a group of people suing the Department of Homeland Security.

An advocacy group filed a lawsuit against DHS Wednesday, alleging that the agency failed to respond to a rulemaking petition filed in February that asked the agency to suspend deportations of undocumented workers and their families and expand the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. A number of people who came to the country illegally, including Fuentes, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network claims that the agency is in violation of the Federal Administrative Procedure Act. “DHS’s failure to respond constitutes an effective denial that is arbitrary, capricious and void of any legitimate explanation,” the group said in the lawsuit.

“What the law says is, they have to respond in a reasonable amount of time,” said Jessica Karp Bansal, a staff attorney at NDLON. “In a case like this where peoples’ lives are at stake, nine months is clearly unreasonable.”

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment on the suit.

The rulemaking petition was filed earlier this year as President Obama was mulling whether he should act alone on the issue. Fuentes and five other people who came to the United States illegally signed on. Now that the…

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