A mom collected workers’ compensation when her son stabbed her. The case has put different courts in the workers compensation system at odds.
Laura O’Rourke was employed through Three Rivers Center for Independent Living as a caregiver for her son Joshua Gartland. Joshua had a history of drug issues and had a leg amputated and required dialysis for kidney failure. As part of that employment arrangement she agreed to allow him to move in her home. She was responsible for bathing, feeding, dressing and attending to his personal care needs.
On April 11, 2009 Mr. Gartland attacked his mother as she slept stabbing her twice in the chest and once in the neck. She had prepared his food and went to bed about 11:30 p.m. About 2 hours later he was awoken when her son was holding her down stabbing her with a 12 inch kitchen knife. Her husband saved her.
Because of her injuries she has lost function in her left arm and has post-traumatic stress disorder. She filed for workers’ compensation benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Judge ruled that because her employment “required her to be on the employer’s premises at the time she sustained her injuries” she was entitled to benefits.
The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board reversed the judges’ ruling finding she wasn’t required to be on the premises at the time of the injury.
The Commonwealth Court reversed the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board reinstating benefits finding she was required to live with Mr. Gartland given the nature of her employment and hours she worked and nature of his condition.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed disallowing benefits finding she was not required to provide 24 hour a day care nor did her employment require her to live with Mr. Gartland that she did so because he was her son.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has reported in an article today, Monday November 9, 2015 that Ms. O’rourke’s attorney is going to be asking for reargument before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
If you or a loved one has questions about workers’ compensation, is injured in an accident contact the law firm of Dugan & Associates, Lawyers Representing injured people. 1-88-993-8426; 1-88-99-D-U-G-A-N. There is no fee unless we get benefits for you.