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The Disability Guys

This article was brought to you by NYS workers’ compensation lawyers at Markhoff & Mittman P.C.

Due to a previous verdict made less than a decade ago by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Nielda Barker, an evidence property control specialist with the New York City Police Department, faced the denial of workers’ compensation benefits. The decision rested on the challenge of establishing a clear link between her reported shoulder and arm injuries and the nature of her employment.

Denied Claims: Lack of Link to Occupational Disease

Ms. Barker’s responsibilities included critical tasks such as hand-scanning and storing evidence, cataloging information on a computer, and transporting evidence to storage facilities. In January 2016, she reported pain in her shoulders and arms, leading to the filing of a workers’ compensation claim in November of the same year. The alleged cause was attributed to repetitive overhead activities and lifting heavy objects.

Judicial Ruling: Absence of Crucial Evidence

Despite her claims, a workers’ compensation law judge ruled against Ms. Barker, declaring that she had not suffered from an occupational disease or a repetitive stress accidental injury. The New York Workers Compensation Board upheld this decision, prompting Ms. Barker to appeal. The Appellate Division emphasized the absence of crucial evidence establishing a direct connection between Ms. Barker’s injuries and the nature of her work. While arguing that her shoulder injuries should be classified as an occupational disease, Ms. Barker failed to present medical testimony, relying solely on medical records asserting the work-related nature of her injuries.

Legal Scrutiny: Inadequate Medical Documentation

The court noted a deficiency in Ms. Barker’s records, pointing out the insufficient demonstration that medical providers had comprehensive knowledge of her work activities or medical history. The lack of a clear link between her shoulder injuries and a distinctive feature of her work led the court to conclude that neither her testimony nor the provided medical evidence was “sufficient to establish a recognizable link.”

Additionally, the court dismissed Ms. Barker’s claim of an accidental injury to her shoulders and arm. While acknowledging that accidental injuries can develop over time, the court highlighted her failure to present competent medical evidence demonstrating that her conditions resulted from “unusual environmental conditions or events assignable to something extraordinary.”

Legal Lesson: Establishing a Clear Connection

This decision underscores the critical importance of establishing a clear and well-documented connection between work-related injuries and the nature of employment when seeking workers’ compensation benefits. In Ms. Barker’s case, the absence of compelling medical evidence played a decisive role in the denial of her claims, shedding light on the challenges workers may encounter in proving the causation of injuries within the legal framework of workers’ compensation.

Legal Options for Appealing a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim

At Markhoff & Mittman PC, we understand the challenges workers face when their workers’ compensation claims are denied due to insufficient evidence and an absence of a recognizable link between the injury and work-related duties. In such cases, individuals may explore legal avenues to address their grievances.

Our experienced team of attorneys and ability advocates can guide workers through the appeals process, assisting them in presenting additional evidence to strengthen their case and establish a clear connection between the injury and their job responsibilities. Furthermore, for those instances where a personal injury lawsuit may be warranted, we offer comprehensive legal support to explore potential claims against third parties whose negligence may have contributed to the workplace injury. Our commitment extends beyond workers’ compensation, encompassing a range of legal options to ensure that individuals receive the compensation they deserve for injuries sustained during the course of their employment.


Worker fails to show injury caused by occupational disease | Business Insurance

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