Re: Idiopathic Fall in Tennessee
An idiopathic injury is one that has an unexplained origin or cause. See Shearon v. Seaman, 198 S.W.3d 209, 214 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2006). An alternative definition is an injury “caused by a purely personal condition” as opposed to an employment condition. See 20 Tenn. Workers’ Comp. Prac. & Proc. § 10:7 (2009-2010). As a general rule, idiopathic injuries are not compensable under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act. The determinative issue in such cases is often whether the injury arose out of employment.
See: Idiopathic Injuries under the Tennessee Workers' Comp Act
Idiopathic falls are a confusing subject in compensation claims.
Three ideas can explain most such claims:
A fall to the work surface causing injury precipitated by an underlying condition such as epilepsy or syncopy will not normally be awarded coverage, and will be deemed an idiopathic fall.
An idiopathic fall which produces an injury because the employee struck an instrumentality of work while falling, such as a table, railing, machine, lamp, or other object not directly on the work surface, will be covered due to the intervention of the work instrument.
Finally, a fall of unknown cause should be covered because its idiopathic nature is unproven.
Confused? The ECAB decisions which follow explain the differences.
See pg 3:
Moderator Responses are based on my personal bias, experience and research - always consult an attorney.