Workers Comp Term of the Day- Proximate Cause - Workers Compensation Audit and Mod Reviews For Employers
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Jun 7, 2010

Workers Comp Term of the Day- Proximate Cause

The issue of Proximate Cause is one we see often in workers comp. Proximate Cause is an act which sets off a natural and continuous sequence of events that produces injury. It is basic cause and effect- anytime you act, you start a series of events to occur, and responsibility for an injury should be placed on the negligent act that produced the injury.

The key point in the definition is that without that act, no injury would have resulted. This is where workers comp claims get tricky. Finding the true cause of an accident can become complicated. With many of the claims in workers comp dealing with Proximate Cause, drugs and alcohol are factors.

What if someone gets hurt on the job and it is discovered that they had been drinking or had taken drugs? The claim now has to go further to discover what the proximate cause of the accident was, and if it would have still occurred if the worker had been under the influence or not.

Many states, for example Ohio, have a workers’ compensation law that says an injury is not able to be compensated when the proximate cause of the injury is the employee’s intoxication or drug use. In most cases, though, it is found that the drugs or alcohol were not the proximate causes of the injury.

Coming up, I will write a post with a few actual cases of proximate cause.


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