The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District has handed down a decision which now holds employers liable for certain falls on their premises under Missouri work comp. The opinion comes in the matter of Kathy Narens v. Lincoln University. Narens was employed at the university as an administrative assistant. Narens left her office building at her normal scheduled time at 4:45 p.m. on April 11, 2012. Her car was parked on the designated lot on campus which had a narrow walkway with a steep edge on one side. When a group of students met her, she stepped off the path onto the steep edge and fell, breaking her left ankle.
Narens filed a Missouri work comp claim on June 4, 2012. The administrative law judge awarded her benefits on March 25, 2015. Especially interesting evidence presented at trial is that Narens’ supervisor was walking along the same pathway with her in August of 2013 and fell in the same manner, injuring her knee. The Missouri work comp judge found that the accident arose “out of and in the course and scope of employment,” and stated that the condition of the walkway was the primary reason for her fall.
Lincoln Appeals the Missouri Work Comp Decision
An appeal to the Missouri Labor and Industrial Commission proved moot when the commissioner affirmed the Missouri work comp decision. The Commission believed Narens’ daily exposure to this hazard increased her risk of falling and that she would not have been equally exposed to this dangerous condition had she not been working on campus. Their decision did little to phase Lincoln University, as they appealed to the next highest court, the Missouri Court of Appeals.
The Missouri Court of Appeals stated that since Narens injured herself stepping off of the steep edge of the sidewalk, that she was not equally exposed to this risk outside of her employment. Since she was using the walkway to get to her car on a lot that her employer owned and controlled, Missouri work comp allows for her to be compensated because she would not have been parked on that lot had she not been there for a work related purpose.
Do you have a Missouri work comp claim?
Our office has been fighting for the rights of Missouri work comp victims for over 25 years. If you have fallen on your employers’ premises and were denied compensation under Missouri work comp, call our office now at 314-862-7222 to discuss. You may now have recourse under Missouri work comp law following this important Court of Appeals decision. You can also fill out our online contact form by clicking here.