Ohio Workers’ Compensation: When Are Idiopathic Injuries Compensable?


OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, posts this: “One of the more complicated categories of workers’ compensation claims in Ohio involves “idiopathic” injuries.  An idiopathic injury is generally described as one which arose from circumstances peculiar to an individual employee, rather than one caused by a risk related to the employment.  A common example of such an injury involves an employee who experiences an epileptic or diabetic seizure while at work.  Since the seizure is the result of a personal medical condition particular to the individual employee, the injuries caused by the seizure itself would not be compensable. “Even when the cause of an injury is idiopathic, however, an injury can nevertheless be compensable if the employment significantly contributes to the injury by placing the employee in a position which increases the dangerous effects of the idiopathic incident.  This fact makes the determination of such claims very fact-specific.  For example, if an employee falls as the result of a non-work related seizure, the claim could be compensable if the employee strikes a machine while falling but would not be compensable if the employee simply falls to the ground, even while working on a hard surface such as concrete.” Dinsmore provides this advice: “Because the determination of such claims can be so fact-specific, employers should carefully investigate any injury involving an unexplained fall or appearing to have been caused by a medical condition personal to the employee.” Read more. 6/20/2017