Abnormal working conditions entitle school bus matron to mental injury award
Case name: Logan Bus Co., No. 0074 3881 (N.Y.W.C.B. Panel 2008).
Ruling: A New York Workers' Compensation Board panel awarded benefits to a school bus matron for post-traumatic stress disorder she developed as a result of a work-related incident.
means: New York Workers' Compensation Law defines an "injury" as any accidental injury arising out of and in the course of employment. A mental injury precipitated by a psychological trauma is compensable to the same extent as a physical injury. To establish a claim for mental injury premised on work-related stress, the employee's stress must be greater than that which usually occurs in the normal work environment.
Summary: A school bus matron claimed she experienced psychological trauma and PTSD after being threatened by a male student after witnessing a sexual act between two students on her assigned bus. The employer disputed the matron's entitlement to benefits, arguing that her alleged mental injury was not work-related. The matron's treating physician and the employer's consulting physician maintained that she sustained PTSD as a result of the school bus incident. Upon review of the parties' expert testimony, the panel concluded that the matron's diagnosed mental condition arose out of the bus incident. The matron's entitlement to benefits turned on whether the work-related stress she sustained was greater than that which occurs in a normal work environment. Answering in the affirmative, the panel concluded that the matron established her mental injury claim.
February 26, 2009
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