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The story of one of the most famous worker’s compensation cases, Karen Silkwood vs. Kerr-McGee, was the inspiration for hundreds of articles, several books, televisions shows, and a movie. In the early 1970s, Silkwood worked as a lab analyst in an Oklahoma Kerr-McGee plant which manufactured plutonium pins used as fuel for nuclear reactors (The Karen Silkwood Story, 2004).. Plutonium, a radioactive chemical element, is known to be highly toxic and carcinogenic. Silkwood, an elected union official and outspoken critic of Kerr-McGee’s health and safety practices, began collecting and recording information to substantiate her charges that employees at the plant were dangerously exposed to toxic chemicals. In early November 1974, Silkwood was…show more content…
If cancer is developed from a radiation exposure on the job, the workers ' compensation law would cover it. However, the contamination resulted in hysteria and fear in Silkwood in which she required medical treatment and examination. The Workers ' Compensation Act required reimbursement for medical attention from job-related accidents (Walsh p 496). Silkwood had missed time from work during testing, and she incurred medical expense which was respectfully for paid by Kerr-McGee. But even if she had not, work time loss and medical expense are not necessary requisites to finding an injury is exclusively covered by workers ' compensation. The court concluded they made a mistake in not ruling that the issue of personal injury must be determined under the Workers ' Compensation Act. The disposition on this issue eliminated the need to discuss the sufficiency of the evidence and other arguments relating to the amount of damages for personal injury and the fairness of the trial on that aspect of the case. It is somewhat unclear how Kerr-McGee determined that the federal regulation of nuclear energy prevents application of the workers ' compensation law for injuries on the job. The existence here of significant damage to Silkwood 's personal property in her apartment required the court to consider additional issues recognized in the appeal. In conclusion, the Workers ' Compensation Act applies only to
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