October 2019 New York Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter Highlights

Absence of job search renders claimant unattached to labor market

Case name: Nassau, County of, 119 NYWCLR 146 (N.Y. W.C.B. Full Board 2019)

Summary: The Full Board ruled that the claimant did not show labor attachment and therefore not entitled to benefits. After injuring their right leg and neck the claimants doctor reported 17 percent loss of use of the right leg and severity B for the neck. The claimant was therefore capable of sedentary employment with restrictions. The claimant failed to conduct a search for sedentary employment and therefore did not show labor attachment.

Claimant fails to establish post-injury reduction wages

Case name: Hyde Park Central School District, 119 NYWCLR 148 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2019)

Summary:  The Full Board held that the claimant's part time employment status was not a result of her injury and was not entitled to reduced earnings. Insufficient medical evidence supporting that part time work was a result of the injury and failure to prove that she had searched for a full time position within her limits, the board denied reduced earnings benefits.

Preinjury plan to retire, lack of medical support point to voluntary retirement

Case name: Spring Valley, Village of, 119 NYWCLR 147 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2019)

Summary: Claimant testified that his retirement was due to a work related injury, while evidence indicates that he planned to retire before the accident. The claimants doctors notes did not indicate that the injury was due to a workplace accident. The Full Board ruled that the claimant retired voluntarily and their right ankle injury was not due to a work accident.

Carrier provides insufficient evidence to order weaning

Case name: Compusite Turnkey Construction, 119 NYWCLR 151 (N.Y. W.C.B. Panel 2019)

Summary: A Board Panel ruled that a claimant should not be weaned off his Tramadol medication. Claimants pain was reduced from a ten to a six with the use of tramadol and daily duties such as household chores, endurance and social activities showed improvement.

Worker establishes claim for slip-and-fall in public area

Case name: Kaback Enterprises Inc., 119 NYWCLR 152 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2019)

Summary: Claimant was walking in a public area retrieving his tools from a nearby building and injured his right knee. The panel ruled that as the claimant was clocked into work and performing a duty that benefits his employer he had clearly established the claim.

WCL covers claimant's injuries sustained in his home driveway

Case name: Crisafulli Bros. Plumbing & Heating, 119 WYWCLR 155 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2019)

Summary: After reviewing, the Panel ruled that a HVAC technician was compensable after sustaining injuries in his driveway. The claimant was considered an outside employee and was given a van to travel to and from jobs. Therefore, his injury sustained while cleaning the van window was covered under his employment.

Employer's previous attempts to remedy hazard doesn't render injury compensable

Case name: Healthcare Associates, 119 NYWCLR 153 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2019)

Summary: The Board Panel ruled that a claimant that fell on a public side walk outside of their employers building did not qualify as a work related injury. The claimant's accident happened on their routine commute to work on a public sidewalk and does not fall under the responsibilities of her employment.

Nurse wins benefits for lunchtime injury

Case name: Trinity Health Corp., 119 NYWCLR 156 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2019)

Summary: After reviewing the evidence the Board Panel found that a nurses injuries sustained while on her lunch break were in the course of her employment. Claimant was told to stay in or around her place of employment during breaks and therefore were found to be approved for benefits.

Failure to demonstrate ongoing attachment to labor market dooms further PPD

Case name: Pryer v. Hempstead, Incorporated Village of, 119 NYWCLR 157 (N.Y. App. Div 2019)

Summary: The Appellate Division upheld the Board's decision that the claimant was not entitled to continued partial disability benefits due to failure to demonstrate labor market attachment. The claimant must show market attachment otherwise they have voluntarily withdrawn from the labor market, regardless of injury.

Carrier's expert provides persuasive testimony against claimant undergoing lumbar surgery

Case name: Czechowski v. MCS Remedial Services, 119 WYWCLR 163 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019)

Summary: The Appellate Division upheald the Board's decision to not approve lumbar surgery. Testimony from the carrier's medical expert states that there is insufficient evidence of the need for lumbar surgery, based on the Wokers' Compensation Medical Treatment Guides, as well as an indication that conservative treatment had been unsuccessful.

Employer can't apportion award based on preexisting multiple sclerosis condition

Case name: Whitney v. Pregis Corp., 119 NYWCLR 159 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019)

Summary: The Appellate Division reversed the Board's ruling that there was apportionment between the claimants preexisting multiple scleroisis and thei injury while working ont he job. The claimant was effectively performing their duties despite his preexisting condition and the condition was not the cause of his injury.

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