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Corrections Officer permitted to Sue Employer and Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A NYC corrections officer employed at Rikers Island sustained injury in the line of duty at the prison.  Then, while he was being transported to a local hospital, the ambulance was involved in an accident, causing him further injury.  He received workers’ compensation benefits for the injuries sustained in the prison, and started a law suit against the City of New York for the injuries stemming from the motor vehicle accident.

Because the City of New York was his employer, it claimed that the law suit was barred by the officer’s receipt of the workers’ compensation benefits, which are ordinarily an exclusive remedy for any damages sustained from injury or death arising out of, or in the course of, employment.  But the court disagreed.  The court ruled that a plaintiff who receives workers’ compensation benefits is not precluded from commencing a separate action for injuries causally related to the initial on-the-job injury, but which did not arise out of, or in the course of, his employment.  The court determined that transporting plaintiff to the hospital was not within the scope of his employment.  The fact that the ambulance was driven by another City employee did not matter.

The case points up the complexities of litigating an action with the City of New York or any municipal employer.  If you or someone close to you is injured on the job working for the City of New York or another municipality, and in need of legal representation, make sure to consult with attorneys experienced in municipal liability, such as the attorneys at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.

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