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Idiopathic Injury: What is That?

Idiopathic is a strange word.  It means a condition that arises spontaneously from an unknown cause.  If you have a workers’ compensation case, you may first hear this word on a Form WC-1, Form WC-3, or a letter from the insurance company.  That document will probably have a statement that the insurance company has denied your case on the basis that your injury was “idiopathic” or “did not arise out of your employment”.

I wrote a previous article that discussed “arising out of employment” in detail, but that article did not really focus on true “idiopathic” accidents and injuries.

Construction worker falling off ladder 1A real idiopathic injury is not work related

Georgia workers’ compensation law usually does not cover a true idiopathic accident because it is not work related.  An example would be an employee with epilepsy who has an epileptic seizure.  Suppose the seizure causes him to fall down on the ground and break his arm.

Generally, the broken arm is not covered by workers’ compensation because the fall was not caused by the job.  A personal condition caused the fall and this injury.  The same sort of rule would apply if the employee passed out or had a stroke or heart attack (assuming the stroke or heart attack was not connected to the employment in any way).

Accidents connected to work are not idiopathic

The first question to ask is whether the condition that occurred was truly idiopathic.  If the job caused the fall in some way, then workers’ compensation should cover the injury.  Examples of this situation include seizures, strokes, or heart attacks caused by physical or mental stress associated with the job.

Even when the accident is “idiopathic”, the injury might not be

If the cause of the fall is truly “idiopathic”, the injury may still be covered under workers’ compensation if something about the event is work related.  For example, if the employee fell onto some equipment that was connected with the employee’s work, the injury would probably be covered.  This type of situation usually occurs when someone passes out and hits a desk, chair, or table.  It also occurs when the employee works at heights and falls because the injury would not have happened if the employee had not fallen so far.  This situation comes up with falls from ladders, stairs, scaffolding, and other work activities done at heights.

Should I fight the idiopathic defense?

The important thing to understand is that you should not give up on your case if you receive a form from the workers’ compensation insurance company denying your injury as “idiopathic”.  Many times, you can fight this denial and win your case.  You may have to go to court to do so.

Because of that, your first step should probably be to get a free consultation with an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases.  Just read this short article to find out more about what a free consultation is.  Then, just let me know if you would like to schedule one.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.

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Jason Perkins

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