New York workers compensation claims have been defined more narrowly by the Court of Appeals.
According to a recent press release, a woman filed suit after her initial worker’s compensation claim was denied. The woman, who was an employee of New York State Department of Law, was riding the shuttle bus to the parking lot when she had a confrontation with another passenger. The passenger was, apparently, frustrated that the woman was not moving fast enough, and their verbal argument turned into a fist fight.
The woman sustained injuries to her chest, neck, and right shoulder, so she filed a workers compensation claim. However, the insurance company denied her claim because the injuries did not arise specifically because of the woman’s employment with the Department of Law – she had not met the passenger before, therefore the attack was purely personal.
She took the claim to the NY Court of Appeals. Generally, workers compensation claims cover injuries workers suffer related to their employment, so this woman’s claim makes sense. However, the Court of Appeals sided with the insurance company’s findings.
This is an interesting twist, considering a similar workers compensation claim in New Jersey recently ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The petitioner argued that she had to park in an employee parking garage two blocks from her office, and when she parked, she had officially arrived at work. She was hit by a car when she crossed a busy street between the parking garage and her office. Initially, she was denied workers’ comp benefits. However, the court ultimately ruled that the petitioner was, because of her parking spot, required to cross the busy street by her place of employment.
New York’s decision could have serious consequences in future workers compensation claims. Injuries sustained by nurses treating violent patients, or retail employees beaten during robberies, might be considered “personal” injuries in the future, rather than work-related hazards.
Workers comp claims can be complicated. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm in South Carolina can help. We handle workers compensation cases against private companies, as well as employees from local, city, or state government in South Carolina. We offer free, confidential consultations, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.