April 2021 New York
Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter Highlights

Significant contracts going to New York jurisdiction over out-of-state accident

Case name:  Focal Point/Macro Consultants, 121 NYWCLR 5 (N.Y.W.C.B.), Panel 2021).

Ruling: In affirming, a Board panel held that the WCLJ’s determination that the State of New York has subject matter jurisdiction over this claim was supported by the record.

What it means:  Where the claimant resides in New York, travels to New York on a weekly basis, and the employer has an office in New York, which the claimant works out of at least once per month, the state of New York has jurisdiction of the claimant work-related motor vehicle accident, even though the accident occurred in Florida during the claimant six-month temporary job assignment.

WCL doesn’t provide reimbursement for mileage to pharmacy

Case name:  Jarrett Woodworking, 121 NWCLR 7 (N.Y.W.C.B., Panel 2021)

Ruling: A Board panel found that reimbursement for mileage to and from the claimant’s pharmacy to pick up prescriptions or hearing aid parts was not authorized by WCL section 13.

What it means:  While WCL section 13(a) requires an employer to reimburse a claimant for expenses incurred in traveling to a hospital or a physicians office for treatment, reimbursement to the claimant from mileage to and from a pharmacy does not fall within the purview of and is not authorized by, section 13.

Bus drivers stress-related mental disability claim falls flat

Case name: Manhattan and Bronx surface transit operating authority, 121 NYWCLR 8 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2021)

Ruling:  A Board Panel held that the evidence did not support the establishment of a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder by the claimant, a bus driver, who alleged he was yelled at, threatened, and spit at by an irate passenger.

What it means:  A bus drivers psychic injury due to a stressful event when he was yelled at, threatened, and spit at by an irate passenger is not compensable under the WCL where, as here, the claimant dealt with verbally abusive passengers in the past, he had the protection of a panic button and a glass partition, and the stress was not greater than a similarly situated bus driver.

Delivery driver picks up reduced earnings award

Case name:  Maines Paper & Food Service, 121 NYWCLR 1 (NY. W.C.B., Full Board 2021).

Ruling:  Upon mandatory review, the Full Board held that the preponderance of the evidence supported a finding that the claimant, a delivery driver who was injured in a work accident, suffered casually related reduced earnings.

What it means:  The fact that the delivery driver lost his commercial license due to a DUI does not necessarily block his ability to obtain reduced earnings award where, as here, he worked light duty since the work accident due to his medical restrictions and his CDL has since been reinstated.