To say that more than a few eyebrows lifted when a woman was awarded worker’s compensation after being injured in her hotel room during an intimate romp with a friend while on a business trip would be something of an understatement. For U.S. readers who think that some worker’s compensation awards are pushing the boundaries a bit, that’s the bad news. However, there’s some good news too: This outrage happened in Australia. Apparently, the United States isn’t the only country where late-night talk show hosts don’t have to rewrite the news to make it outrageous. If you think this claim is ridiculous, here we take a look at some more unbelievable workers compensation awards in history:
Here’s the judge’s logic, such as it were. Had she been playing cards in her hotel room and suffered an injury, there would have been no question about the claim. To that, we respond, “Really?” – Exactly how wild would a card game have to be to knock a light fixture off the wall and onto one’s head? Even 10-year-olds playing “War” don’t get that out of control.
In case you’ve been diagnosed as having blood pressure that’s too low, we offer these other examples of egregious workers’ compensation awards:
Obese Employee Wins Weight Loss Surgery
Now, had the guy been a string bean when he hired on, and the forced consumption of pizza caused his weight to hit 340 pounds, we would agree with the judgment? However, he was overweight when he was hired. He hurt his back on the job and needed surgery.
Doctors said the surgery wouldn’t work unless he lost weight, so the employer had to pick up the tab for both operations.
Thieves Rob Employer Blind; So Does the Court
An auto body shop owner found that three of his employees were stealing from him. He fired all three. They came back a week later and said they had various job-related injuries.
All three won their compensation awards, despite the fact that a private investigator found them happily working on their own trucks after they were supposedly injured.
It Pays to Aim for a High
A job-related injury caused a factory worker with a high school diploma to lose her position. Her employer had to pay for her disability until she could find a new job.
And she tried really hard by applying for positions like an airline pilot, nurse, chemist, and human resources director, jobs for which she had absolutely no qualifications. We think she should have run for president. To be fair, sometimes workers who scam the system or file outright fraudulent claims, end up getting their just desserts:
Court Battle as a Grudge Cage Match
Ex-Los Angeles firefighter Raphael Davis said he was too badly injured from his job to continue in the department. Okay, it happens. But, if that were true maybe his next career choice wasn’t ideal: mixed martial arts fighter.
Authorities eventually caught up to him and now he’s looking at 200 hours of community service — hopes it doesn’t involve a lot of bending over! — and he’ll have to repay some $30,000.
Double Dipping Can Lead to Prison Time
Former mail carrier Tracey Raponi of Martville, New York collected $326,467 in worker’s compensation benefits from the U.S. Postal Service claiming that she was unable to work. It turned out that she was toiling away at her husband’s dog boarding kennel all that time involved in all sorts of physical labor. She eventually entered a guilty plea.
The crime carries a $250,000 fine and a maximum sentence of five years in jail. If you do the math, Tracey ends up with $76,467 ahead plus five years of free room and board. The wheels of justice turn slowly, and sometimes not that well at all.