Much like private sector employees, public employees face a variety of challenges at work. In some cases, these public employees put their lives on the line in order to do their jobs. They risk their own personal safety for the benefit of others. When an accident occurs, certain benefits may be available to public workers to help cover the cost of damage caused by the accident.

Like private employees, governmental workers are entitled to Workers’ Compensation in New York. New York government workers, however, may have slightly different rules then private employees when it comes to filing for Workers’ Compensation and other workplace accident related benefits. It is important, therefore, for government workers to understand exactly when they are eligible for what benefits.

In a recent case, a public safety worker in New York has been denied enhanced disability benefits after a workplace accident. In this case, the worker was headed to work after in a storm in February 2011. Upon entering the parking lot of the Department of Public Safety in the county where he works, the man slipped and fell. In this fall, the man suffered from injuries to his back, legs and knees.

The man applied for disability retirement benefits after the incident, and requested enhanced benefits due to the fact that his injuries were caused by an ‘accident.’ His initial application was denied. More recently, an appellate court affirmed the denial. They ruled that the man should have foreseen the slippery parking lot and therefore the fall was not a workplace accident that qualified him for enhanced benefits.

Like this case shows, it is not always easy for New York workers to get the Worker’s Compensation benefits they need after an accident. Workers in these situations need to understand their legal rights and that legal definitions may not be the same as common definitions in each case. With the right help, injured workers may be able to get the compensation they need and deserve.

Source: Business Insurance, “Court rules worker who slipped and fell on ice should have seen it coming,” Stephanie Goldberg, Oct. 14, 2015