New York workers come in all shapes and sizes and have all sorts of abilities. People come to work with their own unique education, disabilities and previous work histories. This diversity is one thing that makes the state so unique. While people may look or act differently, no one group is exempt from a workplace accident. Anyone can be hurt on the job in New York. And, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to an injured worker.

In October 2010, one New York energy worker was injured in a workplace accident. According to reports, the man injured his back while at work. The exact details of the accident are unknown, but an interesting legal battle has followed.

The man filed for workers’ compensation benefits. After a hearing at the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, the man was awarded workers’ compensation benefits. His employer, however, appealed the ruling to state court. The employer argued that the employee’s benefits should be lowered because the man had previous neck and back problems. His employer believed that the court should apportion his workers’ compensation benefits to take the previous problems into account.

Recently, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled against the employer. It reasoned that since the man was able to work full-time at his position with the company before the injury, it didn’t affect his job performance. Since the previous injury had no bearing on his job performance, apportionment is not applicable.

Legal battles over workers’ compensation can be complicated. Appeals such as this one can be just one step in the long process to get injured workers the benefits they deserve.

Source: Business Insurance, “Comp benefits still on the table despite worker’s pre-existing condition,” Bill Kenealy, June 24, 2015