Appellate Court finds death industrial related on circumstantial evidence by physician

This is a published decision of the appellate court.

This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.

The applicant was working as a dishwasher at a restaurant. The decedent had to take out the trash to a dumpster. He took a trash can on a dolly over 300 feet to a dumpster. It was circumstantial evidence that he had to lift the trash can to put it on the dolly.

The decedent was found dead by the dumpster. He was found with coagulated blood and bloody foam on his face. The autopsy concluded that he died from a hemorrhage from a sequelae of tuberculosis.

The physician hired by the family found that the exertion of taking out the trash resulted in the hemorrhage resulting in the death.

The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) found the physician reached a reasonable conclusion and found the death industrial related. The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCAB) reversed the WCJ finding the physicians report was based on speculation and the conclusion was not based on reasonable medical probability.

The court of appeal reviewed cases on circumstantial evidence. An inference may logically and reasonably be drawn. Here the physician drew an inference based on facts that could reasonably be drawn. The court indicated that a material fact to be proved may be logically and reasonably be inferred from circumstantial evidence. Therefore, the death was industrial.

Case: Rodas v. WCAB

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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