On August 8, 2018, the Minnesota Supreme Court clarified its 2013 decision Dykhoff vs. Xcel Energy. In Dykhoff, the Supreme Court applied the long-standing “increased risk” test to state that an Employee who falls on a flat dry surface generally does not have an injury that “arises out of” her employment.
For the last five years we’ve been working to apply this standard to a number of scenarios, including stairway injuries. Ms. Roller-Dick fell on a stairway. She was carrying a plant and her handbag.
The compensation judge denied the claim as not arising out of her employment. The WCCA reversed, stating broadly that a stairway always creates an increased risk of injury.
The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected that overly broad statement.
The increased risk standard remains. To prove compensability, an Employee must establish a connection between the Employee’s work environment and her injury.
“For an injury sustained on an employer’s premises to arise out of employment, the Employee must have faced a hazard that originated on the premises as part of the working environment.” In Roller-Dick, the Supreme Court was persuaded that there was an increased risk because the Employee was carrying a plant that was given to her by a co-worker.
Depending on the facts, a stairway may still be a neutral condition that does not expose the Employee to a hazard of her employment. The Court did not find stairways inherently dangerous or risky. We must look at the facts of each case to determine whether the Employee was “exposed to circumstances in her workplace that increased her risk of falling.”
For more information or Worker’s Compensation questions contact: Timothy P. Jung, Mark Fredrickson, Katie Storms, or Molly de la Vega.
See link StateofMNA17-1816
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