Categories: Strategy & Industry Insights,
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Strange but True Work Stories, you Have to Read to Believe

The worst injury you have faced at work may be a nasty paper cut, and you probably wouldn’t have even thought about making a claim for it – but there are people out there that would try, and workplace safety is constantly improving.  While there are thousands of perfectly legitimate workplace injury claims made every year, there are some that are somewhat more bizarre. Here are some of the best.

Extra-curricular activities

A woman who was a government worker, successfully received compensation for an injury she sustained while having sex during an overnight interstate trip in 2007.  After meeting the man while out at a bar, the woman invited him back to her motel and during the act a light fixture came loose (although some reports say she ripped it loose from the wall), injuring her nose, mouth and a tooth.  Claiming ‘consequent psychiatric injuries’, the woman’s lawyer argued that she was entitled to compensation from her workplace’s insurer  in line with someone who tripped and fell in a shower while working away from home.

Department store in the dog house

A woman who was working from home broke her wrist after tripping over the family dog while walking to her garage to grab some fabric samples.  The woman who worked as a custom decorator for leading department store regularly worked from home.  She tried to claim compensation from her state’s workers’ compensation board but it was initially denied. They said she wasn’t eligible due to her being at home and at a location outside of her worker’s control.  However, the higher courts reversed this decision by saying that her home was her work environment at times – and she was walking to her garage to get work related items, so the employer was responsible.  She received an unspecified amount of compensation.

A ‘bearly’ believable claim

A man who was mauled by grizzly bears while working as a volunteer at a tourist park after smoking marijuana successfully claimed injury compensation from his employer.  With a job as a bear feeder, the man was always working in a dangerous environment. And some may say, the accident was waiting to happen.  The judge ruled that the marijuana played no part in the mauling – as bears did not discriminate against race, creed, ethnicity or marijuana usage, they were equal opportunity maulers.  He received $65,000 in compensation to cover his medical expenses.

Work Avoidance Strategy

A hotel cleaner just wanted a day off of work.  Rather than asking for one, he claimed he had been assaulted.  To convince his boss, he took a razor from his pocket and repeatedly dragged it down his face.  He also picked up a rock and repeatedly hit himself on the head and body. He went to the police station to report “the assault.”  When asked about the incident, he said, “Looking back, I should have just phoned work and asked them for the day off.

A lesson in workplace safety

A teaching assistant received a whopping $800,000 in compensation after she tripped at work and dislocated her finger.  While moving a wheelchair, she tripped on a loose strap from the chair, injuring her elbow and dislocating her finger, which resulted in ongoing reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) – a malfunction of the nervous system that causes pain and swelling.  Her lawyer argued she was left in constant pain down her left side and was dependent on the care of her husband.  It took her nine years until the claim was settled outside of courts.

In similar cases, teachers have received workplace injury compensation for hitting their head on a door that wouldn’t open, tinnitus caused by feedback from a large megaphone, and back pain from regularly pushing a wheelchair-bound student around.

Have any workplace stories of your own?  Share your stories and outcomes!  These sound funny, but remember they are REAL situations!  A good orientation for new employees, specific policy and procedure manual, and safety program may prevent these from happening to you.


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