Bennett v. Industrial Commission

In Bennett v. Industrial Commission, 163 Ariz. 534, 536, 789 P.2d 401, 403 (App. 1990), Division One of the Court stated that the presumption may apply to both the course of employment and the arising out of employment requirements: "The unexplained death presumption relaxes a claimant's ordinary burden to prove that death or injury arose out of and in the course of employment." The Bennett court then stated that the "presumption arises when a worker's unexplained death occurs within the time and space limits of employment" and quoted Larson's statement that the presumption applies to the arising out of requirement. Id. The court followed this analysis by quoting another passage from Larson that discussed applying the unexplained death presumption when a claimant satisfies the in the course of employment requirement: "The occurrence of the death within the course i.e., the time and space limits of employment at least indicates that the employment brought deceased within range of the harm, and the cause of harm, being unknown, is neutral and not personal. The practical justification lies in the realization that, when the death itself has removed the only possible witness who could prove causal connection, fairness to the dependents suggests some softening of the rule requiring claimant to provide affirmative proof of each requisite element of compensability." Id. at 536, 789 P.2d at 403.