4 Crazy Workers Comp Payouts (and How They Could Have Been Avoided)

4 Crazy Workers Comp Payouts (and How They Could Have Been Avoided)

Workers’ Compensation laws differ from state to state, and the courts and boards who interpret those laws have seen some pretty strange things over the years. Just for fun, let’s look at some of the most bizarre Workers’ Comp claims that were actually paid – and discuss how the employer may have avoided them.

  • Horseplay on the river – A group of employees were taking a celebratory canoe trip after a big new product launch. Some of the employees in a canoe were attempting to pull a co-worker from the mainland into the water. One of the men grabbed a little too hard, and the co-worker flew to the ground, sustaining a serious neck injury. He was awarded workers’ compensation because the team-building event was mandatory.
  • How to prevent it: Out-of-the-office team building events are great, but horseplay such as this should be a big no-no. Make a strict anti- horseplay rule and enforce it with disciplinary measures, even if no one is injured. It’s also important to monitor events such as this so that the rules are more likely to be followed.
  • Can you break your hip on a vending machine? – Apparently, yes. This is what happened to one retail employee who was trying to help a co-worker get a bag of chips out of a 90-year-old broken vending machine. In an attempt to loosen the machine’s death grip on his friend’s chips, the man bumped the machine so hard he actually broke his hip. His workers’ comp claim was paid.
  • How to prevent it: You want to make sure all of the equipment at your facility is in safe, working order. This should extend beyond required on-the-job equipment and include any piece of machinery in the facility.
  • This one’s no lye – A woman at a break room at a fast-food shop set down her soda in the break room and mistakenly drank from another – except this one contained the highly poisonous liquid, lye. She suffered third-degree burns to her esophagus and was paid workers’ comp for her injuries.
  • How to prevent it: It’s extremely important to label any and all substances in your facility, such as cleaning solutions. If a small amount needs to be transferred, there must be a process in place where both containers are labeled.
  • Bear attack – A man working as a volunteer bear feeder at a tourist park in Montana was mauled by a great grizzly while on the job. The man was found to be high on marijuana during the incident but was still awarded workers’ com
  • How to prevent it: The man was on record as a volunteer, who would be ineligible for workers’ comp benefits, except for the business actually paid him to feed the bears, making his injury on the job. This is an important distinction: in order to be considered volunteers, they must not be paid. Additionally, employers reserve the right to a drug- free workplace policy, which shifts the blame directly to the employee for breaking the rules. While you may not have a task near as risky as feeding grizzly bears at your facility, there are still lessons to be learned from these bizarre claims. It never hurts to be prepared!


http://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/business/dogs-bears-and-horseplay-strange- but-true-workers-comp-cases/article_e210a70a-494d-11e1-bb0e- 001871e3ce6c.html

http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/5-bizarre-workers-comp-claims-that-were- actually-successful/


Carrie Charity Murphy is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions and Improv comedienne based in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives with her husband Ben and their two dogs, Sprocket and Ms. Brisby.


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