Home > Uncategorized > COA: Wet Sidewalk NOT Extraordinary Condition

COA: Wet Sidewalk NOT Extraordinary Condition

Happy Wednesday, dear readers!

As my beloved followers, subscribers, and even the occasional anonymous lurker who is too shy to drop me a line might recall, this blog previously reported on the case of Dreher v. WCAB, wherein the WCAB held that a wet sidewalk constituted an “extraordinary” condition for the purposes of defeating Labor Code section 3208.3(d)’s requirements for psyche claims following less than six months of employment.

In that case, a split WCAB panel held that because applicant was surprised by how wet the sidewalk was, it constituted an “extraordinary” condition, and allowed him to recover on his psyche claim.  The “extraordinary” nature of the claim was further bolstered by extraordinarily catastrophic injuries resulting from the event.

Well, the Court of Appeal has weighed in, and in a published decision, reversed.  The COA expressly rejected the notion that analysis of an event as extraordinary (or not extraordinary) does not turn on “the nature of the injuries resulting from the incident.”  Continuing, the opinion reads “although Dreher’s injury was more serious than might be expected, it did not constitute, nor was it caused by, a sudden and extraordinary employment event… Dreher’s slip and fall was the kind of incident that could reasonably be expected to occur.”

With respect to burden of proof, the Court of Appeal held that “[t]o the extent the WCAB’s decision can be read to place the burden of proof on the employer to demonstrate that the accident was the result of a ‘routine or ordinary employment condition,’ it was incorrect.”

So what do we take away from this?  The Court of Appeal, in a published and thus citeable decision, held that the burden of proof on the extraordinary nature of the mechanism of injury falls squarely upon the shoulders of the injured worker.

Furthermore, it appears that the extent of the injuries resulting from the mechanism are entirely irrelevant to the analysis: effects from a stubborn papercut to total and permanent paralysis do not affect the compensability of a recent hire’s psyche claim.

All in all, dear readers, not a bad bit of news for the defense community.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.