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At issue in this case before the Supreme Court of Missouri was whether an employee who suffers an idiopathic-or of unknown cause-fall was entitled to workers compensation benefits. The court concluded he was not.

Verne L. Abel fell while working for a service station as a gas attendant. Mr. Abel went to an outside credit card machine to check credit card receipts. He stood on level, paved ground at the time of his fall. Mr. Abel attended to the credit card receipts and stood for five to 10 minutes, then he fainted, fell backward and hit the back of his head on the driveway. He sustained an intercerebral hematoma requiring hospitalization. Mr. Abel was denied workers compensation.

The appellate court said an employee must show the injury was caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment to receive compensation. An accident arises out of the employment relationship, the court said, when there is a causal connection between the conditions under which the work is required to be performed and the resulting injury. According to the court, although Mr. Abel's injuries occurred in the course of his employment, nothing about the condition of his workplace enhanced the effects of gravity or made the conditions of his workplace any different from or more dangerous than those the public could expect to confront. The court affirmed the denial.

Abel vs. Mike Russell's Standard Service, Supreme Court of Missouri, June 25, 1996 (BI/01/M.-$10).

These abstracts were prepared by Mayo H. Stiegler. Copies of these decisions are available by sending a $10 check payable to Mayo H. Stiegler, to Business Insurance, 740 N. Rush St., Chicago, Ill. 60611-2590. List the number for each opinion.