The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that a state employee who tripped over a carpet while on the job is entitled to workers compensation benefits; even though the carpet the woman tripped over was not a condition of her employment, her injuries will be covered.
In 2009, a child protective services employee, Carolyn Nicholson, fell at work. The fall was a result of her foot getting caught on the carpet in a hallway. Nicholson filed for benefits related to pain in her left side, left shoulder, and neck. The benefits were originally denied.
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission denied the claim, citing that there was nothing about the floor that could be attributed to her accident. The full commission later reversed the decision. It was determined that the fall occurred as a result of her work.
The decision was appealed and the court determined that, because the flooring was not a hazard, that Nicholson’s claim would be denied. Her fall did not result as a condition of her employment.
On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court reversed the decision once again, granting Nicholson full benefits. The higher court determined that the lower appellate court focused too stringently on whether there was a hazard or danger that was unique to her employment.
Even though workers compensation law within the state says that the accident’s cause “must be peculiar to the work,” the Supreme Court determined that the working is meant to establish the fact that the injury did in fact happen in the workplace. Because Nicholson was injured on the job during the completion of her duties, her claim is compensable.
The ruling reads, in part, “In other words, but for the claimant being at work, the injury would not have occurred. It does not require claimant to prove her injury is entirely unique to her employment, for any other interpretation would seriously undermine the law of workers’ compensation.”
If you have been hurt while at work, our experienced team of workers compensation attorneys is here for you. One of our attorneys will represent you and fight to get you the benefits that you rightly deserve. Contact us today.