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A man whose eyes were stabbed by a co-worker is not entitled to workers compensation, a Virginia appellate court held when it determined that his injuries did not arise out of his employment.
In King v. DTH Contract Services Inc., the Virginia Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed on Tuesday the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission’s finding that neither the nature of the worker’s job nor the environment in which he worked “increased the probability of assault.”
George King worked as an overnight rest area attendant for Dunn, North Carolina-based DTH Contract Services Inc. when a former co-worker who quit the previous year stabbed Mr. King in the eyes with a screwdriver — permanently blinding him — while he was performing a safety check on the premises.
Mr. King filed a claim for workers compensation benefits, which was denied by the commission. An appellate court reversed the decision, remanding it back to the commission to determine whether Mr. King’s job placed him at increased risk for assault. The commission held that it did not and Mr. King appealed.
The Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed the commission’s decision, holding that Mr. King failed to provide a causal link that a condition of his employment motivated the attack or exposed him to a “particular danger.”
Although Mr. King argued that he was required to remain locked in the office while not patrolling and to make hourly phone calls to his superiors to confirm his presence and welfare, the commission found that those “prudent safety precautions” did not, on their own, “allow for the conclusion that the claimant’s work environment exposed him to a greater risk of violent crime.”
The court, therefore, affirmed the commission’s ruling and denied Mr. King’s claim for compensation.
An airline pilot attacked by a drunken flight crew member while on an overnight layover in Chicago cannot sue the hotel or other parties, but he is eligible for workers compensation, according to a federal appeals court.