Combs v. Virginia Elec. & Power Co

In Combs v. Virginia Elec. & Power Co., 259 Va. 503, 508, 525 S.E.2d 278, 281 (2000), the employee had developed a severe headache during an aerobics class held on company property. The employee was taken to the employer's employee health services "quiet room," where she was left unattended. Two hours after she had been placed in the "quiet room," the employee was found covered in vomit, in a coma-like state. The employee was taken to the hospital where doctors concluded she had suffered a brain aneurysm. In finding that the employee had suffered a compensable "injury by accident," the Virginia Supreme Court stated: Combs' injury is not the aneurysm itself. Instead, her injury is the aggravation, exacerbation and/or acceleration of the aneurysm. That injury resulted from the alleged negligent emergency medical care, or lack thereof, that she received from Virginia Power and its EHS employees after she suffered a severe headache during the aerobics class. The particular time, place, and occasion of her injury was at the EHS "quiet room" in Virginia Power's Richmond office, during the two to three hours that elapsed from when she first developed the headache and was taken to the "quiet room" until she was transported to the hospital. The identifiable or precipitating event was the alleged negligent emergency medical treatment that she received during this span of time. Finally, Combs' paralysis and cognitive brain damage represent the mechanical or structural changes in her body that resulted from her injury. Thus, all the requirements of an "injury by accident" are present in this case. Combs, 259 Va. at 508-09, 525 S.E.2d at 281-82.