Technician proves compensability of altercation with coworker
Kings County Hospital, 111 NYWCLR 184 (N.Y.W.C.B. 2011).
Ruling: The New York Workers' Compensation Board held that a technician's injuries arose of out of and in the course of her employment.
What it means: In New York, altercations between coworkers generally are considered compensable, regardless of fault, if the injury arises out of a clash over work-related differences.
Summary: A patient care technician for a hospital had a problem with someone opening her purse at work. She went to care for a patient and asked her coworkers not to touch her purse. A coworker began uttering profanities at her. When the technician left work, the coworker followed her outside and across the street and physically assaulted her, rendering her unconscious. The board held that the incident leading to the technician's injuries arose of out of and in the course of her employment, and therefore, the claim was compensable. The incident occurred during the course of the technician's workday and was therefore presumed to have arisen out of her employment, absent substantial evidence to the contrary.
The board found that the carrier failed to rebut the presumption that the injuries sustained by the technician arose out of and in the course of her employment. A sufficient nexus between the incident and the technician's employment was found in the fact that the incident began during the workday at the employer's premises and was perpetrated by the coworker, who followed the technician out of work and across the street, where she physically assaulted the technician. In addition, there was no evidence of any personal relationship outside of work between the technician and the coworker.
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November 10, 2011
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