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The Idiopathic Defense

The Idiopathic Defense

We have had several cases where a client has stated that they were injured at work, but that their employer denied their Workers Compensation claim based on an “idiopathic” defense.

Most people outside of the legal profession have a difficult time grasping what this defense is. As it turns out, the same is true for many practicing professionals!

The word idiopathic in this context is synonymous with the word spontaneous. Employers using the idiopathic defense are claiming that the employee’s injuries were caused by conditions that were unrelated to the employee’s work duties. It is an argument based on causality.

However, the case law on this subject is very unclear. Many factors must be considered in determining whether the injury was related to the employee’s job. These factors include, but not limited to:

  • whether the employee was following the directions of a supervisor;

  • whether the potential hazard that caused the injury was clearly incidental to the employee’s work duties; and

  • whether the employee was “on the clock” when the injury occurred.

Claims like these often require legal assistance. If you would like to receive an evaluation of your potential claim, please contact us as soon as possible.

Please be advised: every legal case is different. While this information may be informative, it is not intended to constitute legal advice. To determine if the circumstances presented here apply to your case, please do not hesitate to call us today.