If you’re injured at work, it’s important to remember as many details of the incident as possible. But that’s tough to do when the injury – or something else – causes you to black out. The case of Rudolph Knight is instructive in this regard.
Knight was a claims adjuster working out of Seattle for State Farm Insurance. In 2008, State Farm sent Knight to Galveston, Texas, after Hurricane Ike ravaged the region. Knight stayed in a hotel near Houston and drove a company van. He saw his family in Seattle over the Thanksgiving 2008 weekend, and he returned to south Texas on December 1, 2008. Knight wasn’t scheduled to work the next day, but he drove 30 miles to Galveston Island anyway, to survey damage there.
While returning to his hotel, Knight pulled onto a beach, parked, and called his wife about 1:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., Knight was found disoriented on the beach. Police and paramedics noted that he smelled strongly of alcohol, and he admitted to drinking. At the nearest emergency room, Dr. Blake Chamberlain treated Knight; the initial diagnosis was alcohol intoxication. Nevertheless, Dr. Chamberlain ordered brain scans which revealed a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Testing indicated the hemorrhage was probably caused by a brain injury. Bruising on Knight’s face indicated blunt trauma to the head that caused his brain to knock against the other side of his skull, causing the hemorrhage.
Knight lost the ability to speak clearly and developed vision problems. He filed for workers’ compensation in Washington State, but his claim was denied. So were his appeals. Washington’s Department of Labor and Industry, which oversees the state’s workers’ compensation system, argued that Knight had abandoned his work by drinking to intoxication. The court agreed. Because he blacked out, Knight had no way to challenge the court’s interpretation of the facts.
If you’re injured at work, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you obtain benefits, but you’ll need all the documentation you can compile. Try to remember everything you can about the incident. Make notes and take pictures if possible. Your case may not be as complicated as Rudolph Knight’s, but you still need a good workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with applications, deadlines, hearings, and appeals. If you’re injured at work, get the help you need and the benefits you deserve, and contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney right away.