Idiopathic Fall Legislative Update

  • May 07, 2019
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Legal Update by Attorney Alison Stewart

Governor Reynolds has signed a bill relating to workplace idiopathic falls (SF 507). This bill has become law in response to the 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision, Bluml v. Long John Silvers, where the Court said there was no blanket rule rendering certain categories of workplace idiopathic falls non-compensable, so long as the employee proved that a condition of the employment increased the risk of injury (e.g. a hard floor). In Bluml, an employee had a seizure while working and fell straight backward onto a ceramic tile floor, striking the back of his head. More information about this decision can be found in an earlier post on this blog, dated November 28, 2018. The Court had held each case like this should be considered on a case by case basis opening the door for an employee to establish an injury resulting from an idiopathic fall onto a hard surface could be found compensable. With this new bill now on the books, however, “personal injuries due to idiopathic or unexplained falls from a level surface onto the same level surface do not arise out of and in the course of employment and are not compensable under this chapter.”

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