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Officer's injury found eligible for workers' compensation

If a worker injures himself or herself while physically on duty at the office or work site, it is usually obvious that the worker is eligible for compensation through workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are other instances when it is not as clear whether an injury is eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, especially when the injury occurs outside of the physical workplace. This is what happened with one police officer recently in California.

The police officer hurt himself while exercising at home to stay in good physical shape in order to be able to handle the physical requirements of the job. The police officer at the time was a 64-year-old sergeant and had been serving in the local sheriff’s department since 1994. He began working as a correctional sergeant in 1999. The injury had occurred when the man was performing exercises in January 2002.

The injured officer argued that the local sheriff’s department does not allow officers any time to maintain their physical fitness while on the job. Therefore, the injured worker had to exercise while he was at home. While he was performing a set of jumping jacks, he ended up injuring his left knee. The officer reported feeling a stabbing pain during his set of jumping jacks.

Eventually an appeals court in California ruled that the officer is eligible to receive benefits through workers’ compensation insurance. However, the officer needed to litigate in court in order to obtain the favorable ruling from the court. This required the officer to present evidence and testimony in court in order to support a legal argument.

Source: Courthouse News, "Guard's Jumping-Jack Injury Is Compensable", Jeff D. Gormon, July 2, 2014

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