South Carolina Supreme Court Rules on Two Cases Involving Falls in the Workplace and Workers Compensation Benefits

On January 14, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued two opinions regarding Workers Compensation benefits. Generally, when a worker suffers an injury on the job, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system is designed to provide an injured employee with necessary medical treatment, disability payments, and monetary settlements to compensate for any physical impairment or disability.

Previously, defense attorneys for employers have argued that accidental falls are “idiopathic falls”- –  a fall brought on by a personal condition unrelated to the employment. In these two recent cases, the supreme court determined that defense attorneys were incorrectly making this argument about idiopathic falls by interjecting fault into a no-fault system. With these two cases, the Supreme Court has issued a bright line rule- simply because a fall is an accidental on-on-the-job fall it is not automatically an idiopathic injury.

Nicholson v. South Carolina Department of Social Services (2015)

One of the cases, Nicholson v. South Carolina Department of Social Services (2015), involved an employee who was walking down a hallway to a meeting. The employee tripped as a result of friction on the carpet, and required treatment for injuries sustained to the neck and left shoulder. The Court addressed whether the injuries sustained by the fall arose out of the employee’s course of employment. The court found it was irrelevant that the injury could have happened just as easily outside of the workplace. Also, an employee injured on the job does not have to “prove the existence of a hazard or danger,” in order to be eligible for Workers Compensation benefits. In this case, the Court found that the Employee was entitled to workers compensation benefits.

Barnes v. Charter 1 Realty (2015)

In the second case addressed by the Court, the employee was an administrative assistant who was instructed to check an email before noon. The employee stumbled and fell while hurrying down the hall to check an e-mail. Originally, the Workers Compensation Comission denied the employee’s claim stating that the fall was “brought on by a purely personal condition unrelated to [] employment.” The Supreme Court held that this finding was incorrect. The Court distinguished this case from cases with “personal conditions” such as “heart attack or seizure,” which “are generally noncompensable absent evidence the workplace contributed to the severity of the injury.” These instances are the result of an internal condition that is “personal to the employee.” The Court found that simply because an employee cannot “point to a specific cause of [the] fall” does not mean that she is not eligible for compensation benefits. “Whether [the employee] tripped because she was hurrying or she tripped over her own feet, neither is an internal breakdown” that would prevent recovery of eligible benefits from injuries sustained in the fall.

If you have been injured on the job, contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a work related accident, contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today. There can be many complicated factual and legal questions that injured workers may face in trying to obtain benefits that are allowed under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws.   Don’t go at it alone for your on-the-job injury, call at Robert F. Goings at (803) 350-9230. This S.C. Workers’ Compensation law firm is here to answer your questions today.


What Clients are saying

100 stars! Mr. Goings and his staff did an amazing job in handling my case! They were with me every step of the way and made sure my case was handled with my best interest at heart! The process could not have been any easier. I am forever grateful to Mr. Goings and his team. South Carolina’s best attorney!

- Tiffany AL

Robert is the best attorney ever… you need legal representation. .. he is the one to go to.

- Jason D

After representing me after I fell down the stairs at work and injured my back, I would recommend the Goings Law Firm to handle any personal injury matter. Robert and Jessica made me feel like my case mattered to them and that my goals were their goals. They were tireless advocates for me yet they were also willing to be upfront and honest in their assessments of my options going forward. I never felt pressured to choose one course of action over the other. They treated my case like their own.

- Anonymous

Mr. Goings is an outstanding attorney. Dealing with a personal injury case can be frustrating and quite stressful. Mr. Goings and his office took care of my case with the upmost compassion and professionalism. They treated me like family. Mr. Goings is hard-working and determined to fight for his clients’ rights. I highly recommend him to anyone in need of a personal injury attorney.

- Anonymous

When I looked for an attorney for my bad car accident, I read the reviews for the Goings Law Firm. This firm had great reviews so I contacted them. Thankfully, Mr. Goings took my case and fully explained the process to me and he took the worry out of my mind. Before hiring him, I tried to settle my case with the insurance company on my own, but I was low balled- Mr. Goings and his office got me a lot more than I ever imagined. A big thanks to his office!

- Anonymous

The Goings Law Firm went above and beyond assisting me after a serious auto accident. Robert Goings and Katie Gould were thorough and kind explaining every step of the process to me, sometimes more than once. Robert was persistent and professional making sure that we received the highest allowable compensation from all parties. I could not have been more pleased with the overall outcome.

- Car Accident Client

It has been a great experience having you represent my family as Our Attorney. I have learned a lot, and have come to understand the importance of good counsel. You and your team are the best. You guys are officially our family Law Firm. Thanks Robert.

- Workers’ Comp Client

Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for Robert Goings, and his amazingly talented team at Goings Law Firm, LLC. Mr. Goings was always genuinely concerned about my health, and overall well-being, was instrumental in recommending the best medical treatment plan for my injury, and most importantly, he treated me as if I were family. Mr. Goings was extremely attentive to every detail regarding my case, and he executed professional results and recovery, well beyond my greatest expectation.

- Slip and Fall Client

Robert Goings was my lawyer when I was in a terrible car accident caused by a drunk driver. I would not be where I am today without Robert and his staff. He worked very hard for me and was with me from the beginning to the end. He stuck to his word and got me the compensation that I deserved. I really appreciate what Robert and his office has done for me.

- Personal Injury Client

Mr. Goings worked tirelessly to resolve my husband’s case, despite the fact my husband wasn’t always the best client, and we still ended up with the best possible outcome because, in my opinion, we had the best attorney. Robert Goings is a professional, caring, experienced attorney with an amazing paralegal, Katie, and a wonderful support staff. If you need legal representation, The Goings Law Firm is the only call you need to make.

- Personal Injury Client

Mr. Goings stood up for my Constitutional Rights. He is a not your typical lawyer and you can trust him like a friend. His staff is very friendly, accommodating, and helpful throughout the entire process.

- Anonymous

Mr. Goings welcomed me in as family, he kept in contact with me about my case all the way to the end.. He works very hard to get justice.. Him and his team is very polite and hard workers.. He deserve more then 5 stars if I had to do it all over again he would be the call.. If anyone is looking for a personal injury lawyer he would be the right person to call don’t hesitate to call.. I thank him and his staff so much for everything they have done for me.

- Personal Injury Client

Hands down one of the BEST attorneys in the state!! Robert Goings exceeded all of my expectations. He welcomed me and my daughter with open arms and he kept me informed every step of the way. I knew exactly what was going on in my case and I really like that about him. His entire staff was awesome and I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for a personal injury attorney. I guarantee you, you will be very pleased with Mr. Goings. Honestly, he definitely deserves more than 5 stars!!

- Personal Injury Client

After being rear ended in a car accident, I needed help navigating the insurance settlement. Having never needed the services of an attorney, I was very anxious about the whole process. Robert Goings & his staff were excellent to work with; at no point did I question my decision or feel that we would achieve anything less than the best possible settlement. I would never hesitate to recommend him to family, friends or strangers!

- Car Accident Client

Goings Law Firm was very helpful and patient with me. Goings Law Firm educated me about the legal side of things and help me understand my case. I would recommend Goings Law Firm to anyone.

- Workers’ Comp Client

Mr. Goings was caring and professional during a very difficult time in my life. I was faced with the sudden loss of my mother in a car accident, and Robert took the time to talk to me and check up on me throughout the duration of the case. I applaud his sensitivity and willingness to go the extra mile. I would recommend his firm to anyone that wants the best legal representation in South Carolina!

- Personal Injury Client

Robert and his staff have gone above and beyond, they are absolutely amazing at what they do. I would definitely call his office again if the need should arise.

- Workers’ Comp Client

I highly recommend Robert Goings! He is absolutely incredible!!! I had suffered from a dog bite injury and Robert went above and beyond to have me taken care of. He is extremely personable, I never felt like a “client”. He and his staff treated me as well as my family with genuine kindness. I am blessed to have had him take such great care of me and my case.

- Dog Bite Client

He was very kind and knowledgeable. He gave me status updates in a timely matter. I was VERY pleased.

- Personal Injury Client