An Iowa postal worker was injured in Sioux City automobile accident.

Posted on Jan 04, 2014

The facts here are missing some information which might have a bearing on the case.  The medical condition which appears to have caused the loss of control resulting in the accident is not specified.   However, so long as the accident occurred while the driver was performing his usual duties, the accident should be compensable under FECA/OWCP.   Generally, an injury that arises out of the employment, and occurs in the course of the employment is compensable.  “In the course of employment” concerns the work setting, the location, and time of injury.  “Arising out of employment” deals not only with the work setting but a causal relationship – that an employment factor caused the injury.

The only grounds for not allowing compensation for an injury recognized to have been suffered while on duty/on the job are willful misconduct, intentional causation of injury to self or another, and intoxication. 

Because we don’t know the driver’s medical condition that caused the accident, there is a possibility that a defense to a compensation claim might be used to block this employee’s claim for compensation.  There are cases where a claimant has a medical event (heart attack, fainting spell, loss of consciousness) and falls, and OWCP attempts to label the fall as an idiopathic fall, meaning that the cause of the fall is related to a personal, non-work related medical condition and not employment.  As a result, the idiopathic fall victim is not eligible to receive compensation.  In a case such as this, the claimant definitely needs a workers’ compensation lawyer to work through the complex legal and medical issues which will arise.  

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