Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 10:46 PM

COA: Lightning Strike Draws Workers' Comp Only If Employee Was At Increased Risk Of Lightning Strike

Today in Heatherly v. Hollingworth Co. the Court of Appeals (COA) dealt with a workers' comp claim of an employee injured by a lightning strike. Plaintiff, a drywall hanger, was on a job site high on a mountain, working in an unfinished garage that had no doors, when lightning struck, producing a jolt which knocked him back several feet in the air, causing him to break his hand in the fall. The Industrial Commission found the injury compensable. The COA reversed because the Commission failed to apply the "increased risk" test handed down 50 years ago by the NC Supreme Court: an injury is compensable if the employee was subjected to an increased risk of lightening strike vis-a-vis the public generally in that neighborhood.


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