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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Court Reporter's Brain Aneurysm Held Compensable

A court reporter who suffered and survived, with catastrophic disability, was awarded workers' compensation benefits by the NY SupremeCourt - Appellate Division as a result of stressful employment.

"On August 10, 2007, claimant, a court reporter, was found unconscious at her workplace and rushed to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by a ruptured basilar artery aneurysm. Although claimant survived, she apparently remains unable to communicate. A workers' compensation claim subsequently was filed on her behalf, and the employer and its workers' compensation carrier (hereinafter collectively referred to as the employer) controverted the claim, asserting that the ruptured aneurysm was not related to claimant's employment. Following a hearing, a Workers' Compensation Law Judge (hereinafter WCLJ) found that the employer did not overcome the presumption of compensability set forth in Workers' Compensation Law § 21(1). "

The Court relied upon the statutory presumption language.

"Pursuant to Workers' Compensation Law § 21(1), a presumption of compensability exists where, as here, an unwitnessed or unexplained injury occurs during the course of the affected worker's employment (see Matter of Brown v. Clifton Recycling, 1 AD3d 735, 735 [2003] ). “The employer may overcome the presumption by presenting substantial evidence to the contrary” (Matter of Steadman v. Albany County, 84 AD3d 1649, 1650 [2011] [internal quotation marks and citations omitted] )."

Read the full decision: In Re: The Claim of Vanessa Richman (Decided January 5, 2012)