New York Workers’ Compensation Board Clarifies: Workers Can Receive Compensation Benefits if They Get COVID-19 While Working

New York Workers’ Compensation Board Clarifies: Workers Can Receive Compensation Benefits if They Get COVID-19 While Working

By Thomas M. Bona and Anthony M. Napoli. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has issued guidance and clarified that a worker who contracts COVID-19 while working is entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Board noted that the claim would be reviewed by the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier and if the insurance carrier accepts the claim, the COVID-19 claim would be covered and compensable. If the carrier disputes the claim, a judge at the Workers’ Compensation Board will decide whether the claim should be paid. The judge would listen to the testimony of the worker and testimony of the medical provider to decide whether the worker was exposed to COVID-19, the extent of the exposure and whether the exposure to COVID-19 was prevalent in the work environment. The Board noted that most workers will never be able to point to the moment or method of exposure to COVID-19, but workers can demonstrate the significantly elevated risk in their workplace by demonstrating the nature and extent of their work in an environment or where exposure to COVID-19 was prevalent. The Board advised that the issue of causality regarding Workers’ Compensation claims resulting from COVID-19 is of a great importance. Accurate documentation regarding the patient’s work exposure is critical for workers to obtain appropriate benefits. Additionally, the provider’s opinion regarding the likelihood of work-related disease transmission should be included in the medical narrative. If the provider believes that the worker in their medical judgment, is likely to have contracted COVID-19 through a work exposure, it should be reported as such. The Board advised that a medical report from an...
PMT Delivers a Win – Snow, Shortcuts and Accidents

PMT Delivers a Win – Snow, Shortcuts and Accidents

By Anthony M. Napoli and Thomas M. Bona. Court: Supreme Court, State of New York Dutchess County Judge: Hon. Hal B. Greenwald Case Type: Slip and Fall Caption: Adami v. Ridgefield Apartment Associates, LLC Index No.: 2017-52447 Decision Date: July 17, 2020 Decision: Summary Judgment Although we are in the middle of a hot summer, it seems fitting that we talk about winter because we know that sooner than we want, we will get snow. What happens when there is a little bit of snow covering an apartment complex walkway and a person decides to avoid the walkway and takes a shortcut to avoid the possibility of slipping on the snow on the walkway? Believe it or not, the person slips and falls in a rut on the grassy area that they cannot see and then turns around and sues the apartment complex for not remedying the defect. Bizarre as this sounds, this is exactly the scenario that PMT was asked to defend. By aggressively demonstrating the fallacy of plaintiff’s claims, we were able to win summary judgment for our client. In Adami v. Ridgefield Apartment Associates, LLC the plaintiff who lived in an apartment complex in Dutchess County, was walking to her car on the day of the accident. It had been snowing and the walk, stairs and grassy area were covered in about an inch of snow. The plaintiff decided, based upon her “judgment”, that she would not take the public sidewalk and public staircase because she had seen a prior accident on the steps. Rather, she would cross the snow-covered, non-public grassy area. She felt that she was...
May Updates to Workers’ Compensation Rules and Procedures – New Jersey, New York and  Pennsylvania

May Updates to Workers’ Compensation Rules and Procedures – New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania

By Charlene Stewart Barnaba and Anthony M. Napoli. During the COVID-19 Outbreak, many of us may be directly affected by the coronavirus, experiencing financial hardships, working remotely and practicing social distancing. This includes claimants seeking workers’ compensation benefits and attorneys as well as judges and staff. However, this presents new challenges to keep everyone safe and healthy while still conducting business before the Board. In PMT’s continuing efforts to keep you informed, below are some of the recent updates in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey which we feel are important for you to know. Please use these links to view how it’s affected your state: New York, Pennsylvania & New Jersey New York May Updates to Workers’ Compensation Rules and Procedures Below are some highlights of the updated NYS Workers’ Compensation Board emergency amendments, adopted in April 2020. The Board’s specific Response can be found at its website: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/TheBoard/WCBcovidresponse4-20.pdf In situations where payers are not sure if a claim is compensable, they are encouraged by the Board to consider issuing payment without initially accepting liability, rather than disputing the claim. Telemedicine and telephonic visits in some circumstances for social distancing purposes are permitted. Deadlines have been extended for healthcare providers to obtain authorizations for certain medications. New nature and cause of injury codes are now available in response to the pandemic and the Injury Description Tables have been updated to reflect this specific coding. The use of email, rather than fax, should be utilized for the efficient transference of communication and information. Injured workers need not demonstrate attachment to the labor market to continue receiving partial disability payments...
Updates to Workers’ Compensation Rules and Procedures – New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Updates to Workers’ Compensation Rules and Procedures – New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey

By Charlene Stewart Barnaba, Laurie A. Carroll and Anthony M. Napoli. COVID-19 has gripped the entire world and each of our local communities. The PMT Law Firm is working to keep our clients informed during these unprecedented times. PMT’s resource of knowledge and industry experts in a variety of important fields are working to keep you up to date and your business protected. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, businesses should carefully consider a number of contractual provisions and operational issues that are likely to play a significant role in the short and long term and may be the subject of disputes and litigation to come. Early retention of counsel to assess these issues may help to reduce litigation risk. Please use these links to view how it’s affected your state: New York, Pennsylvania & New Jersey New York Updates to Workers’ Compensation Rules and Procedures – New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Below is a summary of some of the provisions of Executive Order 202 necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. The Board is conducting workers’ compensation hearings remotely, using the Board’s Virtual Hearings service. Injured workers can also choose to appear by phone. If an unrepresented injured worker is unable to participate in a hearing, it will be rescheduled. DVD and other evidence that the parties wish to introduce, should be mailed to the Board and the opposing parties within two days of introducing it at the hearing. In addition, if claimant is unable to see his/her attending physician due to the physician’s...