3 Crazy Workers' Comp Claims That Were Won

Trying to figure out whether a workers' compensation claim will be approved is a complex process, but some successful cases stand out more than others. If you're feeling a little worried about whether you should or shouldn't go to a workers' compensation services firm, these three real-world cases might make you feel better about your chances of winning.

1. Vending Machine

Everyone with work experience has at some point felt like the vending machine was out to get them, but one Circuit City employee's compensation case led to a surprising legal win. The man, Clinton Dwyer, was trying to help a co-worker get a bag of chips loose from a workplace machine that had been known to be troublesome. In the process, he struck the machine two times and ended up hitting it a third time with his shoulder, resulting in a fractured hip.

The company initially fought the case, but the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission awarded his claim. The commission arrived at the conclusion based on the Good Samaritan Doctrine, a legal theory that states that helping a co-worker deal with a problem at a job site is a reasonable part of being there.

2. Bears and Pot

Helping a fellow employee get food certainly seems reasonable, but trying to feed a bear while stoned is perhaps less so. Should you get mauled by a bear you were assigned to feed while you are stoned in the state of Montana, however, you may be able to have your claim covered. While a court said the victim, Brock Hopkins, was "mind-bogglingly stupid," his injuries while in an enclosure were normal work concerns and that his use of marijuana hadn't contributed to the attack. Hopkins was awarded $65,000 to cover medical expenses.

3. Messing Around

It might seem like a bad idea to unnecessarily jump across a trench while at a construction site, especially since it could lead to a broken leg. The Supreme Court for the state of South Dakota, though, determined that it is compensable.

During the initial consideration of the case, the state's Department of Labor had determined that the injuries arose from playing around while bored during a lull at work. A co-worker had tricked the man in order to get his spot in an air-conditioned vehicle during an incident in 2011, and the tricked man chased the co-worker after finding out, leading to an injury following an awkward landing.