Georgia workers’ compensation claimants must be cognizant of the state’s procedural rules and requirements in order to bring a successful claim. In a recent workers’ compensation case, a claim for benefits was denied on appeal after the claimant raised an issue for the first time on appeal.The claimant was employed at Walmart as an overnight support manager. One night during his shift, he felt lightheaded and exhausted, and he told coworkers he was going to leave early that night. Soon afterward, he fell in an aisle and had a seizure that lasted for at least 30 seconds. The claimant suffered sinus fractures, a facial laceration, and a potential traumatic brain injury. The claimant requested workers’ compensation benefits, claiming that his injury was a result of his tripping over a pallet at work.
Evidence showed that when he was 12 years old, the claimant became sick with a virus and had several surgeries to remove a cyst and implant a shunt. He was prescribed anti-seizure medicine after experiencing a seizure during a surgery, but he stopped taking the seizure medication after high school, and he did not have any seizures until the fall at work, when he was 44 years old.
Walmart argued that the injury did not arise out of his employment and thus was not compensable. At trial, the claimant argued that the injury arose out of his employment because his fall resulted from a risk of his employment because he tripped over a pallet. The court found his fall did not arise out of his employment and was not compensable under that state’s workers’ compensation act, and the claimant appealed.
On appeal, the claimant argued that his injury arose out of employment because of the “increased-danger” rule. The rule states that an idiopathic-caused fall is compensable if the claimant’s employment increases the dangerous effects of the fall. However, the appellate court did not consider the plaintiff’s argument because he raised it for the first time on appeal.
The court explained that if an issue is raised for the first time in an appeal, the appellate court will generally disregard the issue because a trial court cannot commit an error on an issue that was never presented to the court. Under that state’s laws, if an argument is raised for the first time on appeal, the plain-error standard applies. A plain error is one that is of such a nature that failing to correct it would result in “damage to the integrity, reputation, or fairness of the judicial process.” Since the error did not rise to that level, the argument was waived, and the claim for benefits was denied.
Raising Issues on Appeal
In Georgia, appellate courts will not consider arguments that are raised for the first time on appeal. Grounds that were not raised at trial are presumed to be binding. Only in special circumstances will an appellate court consider arguments raised for the first time on appeal. For example, appellate courts may consider errors that amount to serious public policy issues, changes in the law, or some other limited circumstances.
Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured on the job, contact the law office of J. Franklin Burns, P.C. as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Georgia law office of J. Franklin Burns, P.C. have decades of experience handling a wide variety of workers’ compensation claims. Our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers are authorities on Georgia’s workers’ compensation law. For a free consultation, call us at 404-920-4708 or contact us through our online form.