Miller Law Firm, PLLC
Call Today for a FREE Consultation
Menu Contact
View Our Practice Areas

Unexplained Falls - Workers' Compensation; Philbeck v. University of Michigan

What happens when you fall on the job for an unexplained reason? That was the question at issue in Philbeck v. University of Michigan.

Philbeck, an employee of University of Michigan, was a field interviewer in social sciences research. Her job required her to travel from her home in North Carolina to various locations on the East Coast to interview potential participants for a research study. In August of 2011 Philbeck was visiting an individual in Maryland to conduct an interview. Upon leaving the apartment complex where the individual lived, she fell and fractured her left arm near her wrist.

The plaintiff was unsure of why she fell and the emergency room staff was not able to determine a medical reason for her fall after administering various tests. Further, plaintiff's primary care physician reviewed medical records and opined that her fall was caused by heat exhaustion, but was not able to state with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that heat exhaustion was the cause of Plaintiff's fall.

Plaintiff sought workers' compensation benefits in connection with her fall and Defendants denied her claim on the basis that the alleged injuries were a result of an idiopathic condition. At a hearing before the Deputy Commissioner it was determined that plaintiff's injury was due to factors that were not job related and her claim was denied.

Plaintiff appealed and was heard before the Full Commission. The Commission reversed the deputy commissioner and awarded Plaintiff temporary total disability benefits. Defendants appealed to the Court of Appeals.

The Court held that " when a fall is unexplained, and the Commission has made no finding that any force or condition independent of the employment caused the fall, then an inference arises that the fall arose out of the employment." The Court affirmed the Commission's Opinion and their award of temporary total benefits.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy