Workers Sustained Compensable Knee Injury While Quickly Getting Out Of Chair In Attempt To Reach Resident At Health Care Facility

The Commission held claimant, who injured her knee while exiting a chair in an attempt to prevent a resident of defendant’s health care facility from leaving a designated smoking area, sustained an injury arising out of and in the course of her employment.

Claimant, an employee at defendant’s health care facility alleged she injured her left knee while getting out of a chair in an attempt to prevent a resident from leaving a designated smoking area. Specifically, claimant stated she observed a resident smoking a cigarette in the break room of the facility.  Because the resident needed to be observed while smoking, claimant went into the break room and sat down.  The resident then unexpectedly started to walk out of the break room while still smoking. To prevent him from going into a nonsmoking area, claimant attempted to exit her chair to go after the resident.  Claimant stated she made this maneuver quickly so she could reach the resident as soon as possible. While getting out of the chair, claimant twisted her left knee.

The arbitrator found claimant sustained an accidental injury arising out of and in the course of her employment.  In so holding, the arbitrator rejected defendant’s contention claimant was injured while turning her chair, not while getting up to go after a patient.  The arbitrator noted claimant listed a witness on her report of injury but defendant failed to call this witness to testify.