Workman's Compensation News: Big win for a NY cabbie who lost his eye being a good samaritan, 911 workers and volunteers claim deadline extended

God how I love the internet, I come home last night to find out there's more labor news this past week than I have time to even read about, and find out that there so much more that isn't even written about in the labor blogs that I have a ton of work on my hands. So while fumbling through the newest news via my Google RSS on the site I noticed a big win for a NYC Taxi driver who, while in a parking lot eating lunch decided to help out a person with a dead battery. Unfortunately the battery exploded blinding the man when he attached the wires. This is a really good article by a compensation attorney in Illinois and Iowa, Nick Avgerinos called "Something to Chew Over: Are You “On-the-Job” During Your Lunch Break?", here's a few key snips:
With personal injury claims, on the other hand, specifics are very important. Were you in any way at fault? How much were your medical bills? Can you continue to work? How does the injury affect your personal life? You’re the victim and yet you’re left to prove that you deserve compensation. Doesn’t seem fair, but it’s the way the system works. The best thing you can do is be upfront and honest. It’s up to you to report your injury early and seek legal advice regarding how to proceed.
He then continues explaining the differences, and then with the case at hand, our cab driver:
So, what about lunch breaks? As with most questions, the legal answer is “it depends.” A recent New York workers’ compensation case provides an interesting example. Like Illinois , New York Workers’ Compensation law requires that the injury arise both out of and in the course of employment. In this case, a cab driver was parked in a parking lot, eating his lunch, when approached by another motorist for assistance in jumping his car. The cab driver graciously agreed, but the battery exploded as he was securing the jumper cables, resulting in the cab driver losing his left eye. He filed for workers’ compensation….but he was on his lunch break when the injury occurred.

The case ended up in the New York Court of Appeals , which agreed with the employer that meal breaks are generally not compensable. They ruled, however, that this case was an exception. Testimony showed that drivers routinely took 15-20 minute breaks with the express permission of the employer at a location convenient for the employer. Reasoning that the general rule doesn't apply when the nature of the job dictates the time and place of the meal and the employee is still “on-the-job” at the time the break occurs. Thus, the court determined that the cab driver was injured in the course of employment.

But did his injury really arise out of employment? The New York Court of Appeals determined that if an employee is injured while involved in an activity that benefits the employer, while in the course of employment, then that employee has a workers’ compensation claim. But the cab driver here was just being a Good Samaritan , right? Wrong. The court ruled that, because the cab was clearly marked with the employer's name, the assistance created a good-will benefit to the employer. In other words, the cab driver was providing free advertisement for the employer.

That information is very helpful for all of us, I'm glad I got to read it, another thing I noticed is an article by Chrissie Cole that points out the extensions to register for Workman's Compensation for all 911 workers and volunteers, the new filing date is August 13th. 2008:

Those who helped assist in the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts of the World Trade Center destruction - have an extended deadline of August 13, 2008 to register with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.

The law has been changed to allow for claims by those that have 9/11 related illnesses.

The change applies to workers and volunteers that may not be sick now, but how become sick in the future due to toxic exposure following 9/11.

To ensure eligibility, all workers and volunteers must register before August 13, 2008 to preserve your right to file a claim in the future.

Workers and volunteers who assisted in cleanup work, recovery and rescue should register as soon as possible, to avoid the deadline. Those who were exposed to psychological trauma and/or toxic dust should protect their rights by filing a claim. If you are not sure if you qualify to make a claim, registering is suggested.

Detailed information can be found by visiting the NYCOSH website at www.nycosh.org or by calling 1-866-WTC-2556 24-hours a day.
Check out Injury Board for a lot more info about Workman's Compensation, nice site indeed. They even have a ton of articles for Construction Safety Month
http://newyorkcity.injuryboard.com/images/injuryboard-logo.jpg

1 comment:

NJA said...

I'm glad that you enjoyed the article. I make a living fighting for hardworking people, and it's always refreshing to see a story where they get the compensation they deserve. Workers' compensation can certainly be a confusing topic, and I try to translate its nuances into everyday English in my blawgs. Injury Board provides a lot of helpful information, but please also feel free to contact me at 1-877-245-6841, Ext. 445 with any questions you have, now or in the future. My firm handles Illinois and Iowa cases and you can learn more about us at www.capronlaw.com.

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