SW Legal studies in Business

Self-Inflicted Wound May Be Eligible for Workers' Compensation Benefits
Description Wyoming high court held that a worker who suffered severe injuries when he tried to kill himself was due workers' compensation benefits because the evidence was clear that he was suffering from depression, a mental injury, that he sustained as a result of a serious injury he had suffered earlier at work.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers' Compensation; Self-Inflicted Wound; Mental Injury
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Brierley was seriously injured in an accident at work. The result was severe and continual pain. As a result of the injury he was diagnosed as suffering from depression. Later he shot himself and suffered a serious injury but lived. He filed a claim for workers' compensation medical and total disability benefits. Evidence was presented at the hearing about the depression that followed the original injury at work. He was denied benefits because the injury was self-inflicted. He appealed.
Decision

Reversed. The Workers' Compensation Act does not specifically preclude benefits in case of a self-inflicted wound. The evidence from the benefits hearing was clear and convincing that the suicide attempt was the result of the mental injury Brierley suffered as a result of the physical injury suffered at work. When the evidence presented in favor of a position is more than a preponderance, the trier of fact must go with that result. Brierley is due benefits.

Citation In the matter of Brierley, 52 P.3d 564 (Sup. Ct., Wyo., 2002)

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