• John Larrimer

What Is an Idiopathic Injury?

An idiopathic injury is defined as an injury experienced by an employee at work that was caused by pre-existing medical conditions. An injury that results because of an employee’s condition, with no other circumstantial implications, does not generally need to be covered by the employer. However, certain conditions imposed by the employer or work environment may cause an increased risk of injury to the employee, meaning that employers can be held legally responsible for medical coverage.

Examples of Idiopathic Injuries

The first idiopathic injury case originated in 1947, when a Georgia man with epilepsy had a seizure and suffered a head injury on the corner of a table at his workplace.

Another example would be if a worker with a heart condition had a heart attack while climbing a ladder and hit his head in the fall. The head injury would likely have to be covered by the employer. If someone has a heart attack at their desk, or is not injured by the workplace premises or conditions, the employer would likely not be liable, although exceptions may apply.

Whether an employer is liable in the event of an idiopathic injury depends on several factors. In the event of an idiopathic case or any kind of work injury case, it is common for employers and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to refute or deny the claim. Partnering with a Columbus workers’ comp attorney can help prove that you are entitled to benefits after an on-the-job injury.


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