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Judges uphold workers’ comp claim for nurse

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s ruling in favor of a home health care registered nurse on her claim for workers' compensation. The judges rejected the company’s argument that the board’s decision was based on the defunct “positional risk doctrine.”

Kathleen Miecznikowski was visiting a patient at the patient’s home when she lost her footing and fell on the sidewalk, injuring her arm and hand. She filed an application for adjustment of claim with the board; a single hearing member denied the claim, but the full board reversed. It concluded that her injuries had arisen out of her employment with A Plus Home Health Care Inc. and that her fall “was a neutral risk and therefore compensable. There is no indication (Miecznikowski) had a personal condition that caused her to fall.”

In A Plus Home Health Care Incorporated v. Kathleen Miecznikowski, 93A02-1207-EX-558, A Plus contended that because the board concluded that Miecznikowski’s injuries arose from a neutral risk, the board’s conclusion is necessarily premised on the now-defunct positional risk doctrine described by the Indiana Supreme Court in Milledge v. The Oaks, 784 N.E.2d 926, 929 (Ind. 2003).

In that case, the justices imposed the positional risk doctrine to avoid placing claimants in the position of attempting to prove a negative – that the injury was not personal to the claimant. The Indiana General Assembly amended l.C. 23-3-2-2 in 2006 to say that the burden of proof is on the employee.

This amendment does not supersede the Supreme Court’s conclusion that neutral risks are compensable under the act, Judge Edward Najam wrote. Here, Miecznikowski presented evidence that her injuries weren’t the result of a mental illness or condition and therefore weren’t the result of a personal risk.

In light of the evidence, the judges agreed with the board’s conclusion that her fall was a neutral risk and therefore compensable.

“A Plus’s argument that this conclusion necessarily relies on the positional risk doctrine is incorrect. At all times, pursuant to the 2006 amendment to Indiana Code Section 23-3-2-2, Kathy bore the burden of proof on all elements of her claim. Kathy met her burden, unlike the claimant in Pavese (v. Cleaning Solutions, 894 N.E.2d 570, 576 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008)), when she testified that the cause of the fall was both not a personal risk and also was a neutral risk,” he wrote.

 

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  1. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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