Many government workers need a way to pay for expenses that they incur following a workplace injury. Like private sector employees, government workers are entitled to workers’ compensation to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost wages following an accident. When government workers are killed in a workplace accident their families may be entitled to a death benefit from workers’ compensation.
However, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board recently denied coverage for one police officer’s wife. According to the woman’s claim for workers compensation, her husband had been with the New York State Police Department for 31 years. In April 2008, the man was investigated by the department because of inconsistencies in his performance. As a result of the investigation, the woman claims that her husband became depressed and committed suicide.
The woman then applied for workers’ compensation benefits. She argued that the stress of the probe was the cause of her husband’s death by causing the depression. The case was denied by the Board and appealed twice. Recently, a final decision has been rendered which ruled against the woman.
While many may think that the workers’ compensation system is straightforward, often times it is not. The process of applying for workers’ compensation can be lengthy and difficult — whether or not the injured employee is a government worker. Without the right help and expertise, injured workers can see their applications denied.
When applications are denied, it is important for workers to fight for the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. There are avenues that can be taken for an application to be reconsidered. Workers should not have to struggle following an accident instead they should be able to focus on their recovery.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “No Worker’s Comp in Forensic Worker’s Suicide,” Marlene Kennedy, Feb. 4, 2013