Injury From Natural Disasters

Injury from natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes generally affects a community rather than the locale of a particular employer. Thus, the fact that an employee is injured by such an occurrence alone is insufficient to establish a claim for benefits since it does not establish that the risk of harm increased because of his employment. Injury by natural disaster affecting an entire community is within the gambit of workers’ compensation where the risk of injury increases by virtue of employment. For example, this element of extra risk has been found where a schoolhouse was unusually exposed on a high plateau. Increased risk might also exist where employees work in unnecessarily tall, old, or unstable buildings particularly susceptible to strong winds and earthquakes.