October 2020 New York Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter Highlights

Carrier’s change in IME doctors casts doubt on credibility of opinion

Case name: New York, State of/Dept. of Corrections & Community Supervision, 120 NYWCLR 1379 (N.Y. WCB, Full Board 2020)

Ruling: The Full Board held that the record supported a finding that the claimant, a corrections office, had a 50 percent schedule loss of use (SLU) of the left arm and 42.5 percent SLU of the right arm after taking into account a 30 percent SLU of the right arm from a previous claim.

What it means: A carrier’s contention that it switched IME doctors for a second report because it was unable to schedule an examination with the original doctor does not constitute a sufficient excuse for the change where, as here, the carrier never requested an extension to obtain a second IME report from the original doctor. It is more likely that the carrier simply wanted to obtain a more favorable opinion from a second doctor.

Claimant prove attachment to labor market during COVID-19 restrictions

Case name: Volunteers of America Greater New York, 120 NYWCLR 140 (N.Y. WCB, Panel, 2020)

Ruling: Based upon a preponderance of the evidence, a Board panel found the claimant was attached to the labor market at the time of classification.

What it means: Where the claimant obtains post injury work in March 2020, but is laid off after two days due to the employer’s inability to train new employees during the COVID-19 outbreak, the evidence supports a finding that the claimant has demonstrated a good faith effort to find work and is attached to the labor market.

New York Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter, October, 2020