Here is a great example of why you should never let your employer – or your own guilt – get in the way of claiming the New York workers’ comp benefits that you deserve. In this situation, a worker slipped in the employee break room while walking past the vending machine. There was, she claimed, paper from an overflowing trash can in the break room which contributed to her slipping. She fell, breaking her wrist, and later experienced back and hip pain that persisted.
When she filed for workers’ comp benefits a week later, still in pain, her employer claimed that not only was she clumsy, but she wore high-heels which contributed to her clumsiness. They did not believe that she deserved compensation for an accident that was clearly her fault.
What are the lessons here? If you have an unexplained fall while at work and are hurt, the law says you are entitled to New York workers’ comp benefits unless your employer can provide substantial evidence that your fall had nothing to do with work.
In addition, your employer can avoid paying NY workers’ comp benefits only if they can show that you have a pre-existing physical condition that caused your injury, or if they can prove that you were behaving in a blatantly dangerous or inappropriate manner.
This also case shows the importance of a clean, safe working environment, something your employer is required to provide. The bottom line? Don’t let your employer intimidate you or blame you for your accident if you really know that you did nothing wrong. Unless you really did something outrageous and your employer can PROVE it, you deserve workers’ comp benefits.