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Officer's Injury Accidental

 Officer Hurt by Stretcher Collapse Gets Accidental Disability Benefits

 

A police officer who wrenched his back when the stretcher he was using to evacuate an injured person from a house was entitled to accidental disability retirement benefits.

 

Case: Scharp v. DiNapoli, No. 515287, 03/21/2013, published.

 

Facts: Frank Scharp, a New York police officer, wrenched his back while assisting in the evacuation of an injured person when the wheeled stretcher Scharp was using unexpectedly collapsed.

 

Procedural History: Scharp's employer submitted an application for accidental disability retirement benefits on Scharp's behalf, and a hearing officer granted the application. Upon review, the state comptroller reversed.

 

Analysis: The Appellate Division's 3rd Department explained that an applicant seeking accidental disability retirement benefits bears the burden of proving that his injury was the result of a sudden, fortuitous, out of the ordinary and unexpected event that does not result from an activity undertaken in the performance of regular or routine employment duties.

 

The court reasoned that the removal of an injured person using a wheeled stretcher was

"undoubtedly" part of Scharp's job, but the record did not support the comptroller's finding that the collapse of the stretcher was a foreseeable occurrence. Scharp and a fellow veteran police officer both testified that they had used similar devices on hundreds of occasions in their 20-plus years of service and had never witnessed a collapse. An ambulance medical technician who was present when Scharp's injury occurred also testified that in more than 20 years on the job − during which he had

used similar stretchers over 500 times a year − he had only seen the legs collapse on five or six

 

occasions.

 

Disposition: Annulled.

 

To read the decision, click here.

 

Source: WorkCompCentral

 

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