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How sharper than a serpent's tooth

When it comes to workers' compensation cases, people typically think of cases where a construction worker is injured or killed on a job site in a fall or some other type of accident.

Other workers may be injured by the demands of their work, commercial fishermen who drown, warehouse workers injured by heavy equipment or products on pallets, health care workers who suffer back injuries due to lifting patients in and out of bed every day.

A workers' compensation case from our neighbors in Pennsylvania is a bit more unusual. A woman was working as caregiver in a home. Because of the nature of the health care needs of the individual she cared for, she provided live-in care on the premises. 

Her workers' compensation claim arose when the individual for whom she cared came into her bedroom in the middle of the night and stabbed her repeatedly in the neck with a 12-inch knife.

Oh, and what really makes this unusual is the fact that the two individuals are mother and son. The women's son had significant health problems due to drug problems. He had even had one leg amputated.

She was working under a state contract as his caregiver. He lived in her home. After the stabbing, she applied for workers' compensation. At her first hearing, the state workers' compensation judge awarded her benefits.

However, keeping things strange, her son, apparently out of spite at his failure to kill her, challenged her award from prison and the state Workers' Compensation Appeal Board sided with him, finding no work related injury. A Commonwealth Court reversed, noting that she had to live with her son in order to provide the necessary care.

A thankless child may be sharper than a serpent's tooth, but not sharper than a kitchen knife. As they say, you cannot make this stuff up.

Source: PennLive.com, "Woman stabbed by own son must get workers’ comp, Pa. court says," Matt Miller, Jan. 8, 2014

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