Receipt of disability retirement doesn't automatically qualify officer for comp
Case name: Anthony v. Town of Marion, No. 2011-WC-00172-COA (Miss. Ct. App. 06/19/12).
Ruling: The Mississippi Court of Appeals held that an officer failed to prove that she sustained a compensable work-related injury.
What it means: In Mississippi, an injured workers' receipt of disability retirement benefits does not mean her injury occurred in the course and scope of her employment.
Summary: The chief of a town police department sent a police officer to the firing range to qualify with her handgun and shotgun. The officer said she told the chief that using the shotgun hurt her arm, but the chief said she never mentioned getting hurt at work. Two weeks later, the officer visited a doctor, complaining of numbness in her right shoulder, arm, and leg. An MRI revealed a disk herniation and bone spurring. Three months after the incident, the officer reported to a neurosurgeon that she shot a shotgun that kicked and started having increased pain. The officer sought and was awarded disability-related retirement benefits. She also sought workers' compensation benefits. The Mississippi Court of Appeals held that the officer failed to prove that she sustained a compensable work injury.
The court rejected the officer's argument that the fact that she was approved for disability retirement showed that her injury occurred in the course and scope of her employment. Also, evidence that the town clerk noted that the injury was work-related on a form for disability benefits was not persuasive because the clerk did not indicate that the injury was work-related on a follow-up form.
The court did not find that the neurosurgeon concluded to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the shotgun recoil produced her injury. He said that given the officer's two-week delay in seeking medical attention, it was more probable than not that her symptoms were not related to the shotgun recoil.
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August 9, 2012
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