A Monroe firefighter who injured her knee while standing up at her desk suffered an "idiopathic" injury that was not compensable through workers' compensation, the Georgia Court of Appeal ruled in a split decision, affirming a ruling by the State Board of Workers' Compensation.
The appeals court said in its decision that it granted review of Pamela Chambers' claim "because it appeared that additional precedent in this area would benefit the bench and bar, and to ensure that the facts supported the Board's findings."
The court upheld the board’s decision because “some evidence” supported it.
Chambers worked as a firefighter/emergency medical technician for Monroe County. She was asked to sit down at her desk to complete paperwork. Her supervisor asked if she could get up and when she did, she felt a pop in her left knee. She was later transported to the hospital emergency room where she underwent a knee replacement.
When the hearing was heard in front of an administrative law judge, the court ruled the injury was compensable because Chambers was following supervisor’s orders and was injured during the course of her employment. However, when the claim was hearing in the Appellate Division, it was reversed stating that there was no evidence Chambers had slipped, tripped or fell. Even though the injury occurred in her workplace, Chambers could not show a connection between the injury and her employment.
The appellate court stated that the injury did not arise of her employment and there was nothing “peculiar to the work” that connects the employment to the injury.