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New York: Cautious Medical Testimony Dooms Claim for Stroke Allegedly Caused by Work-Related Stress

January 27, 2017 (1 min read)

Reiterating the rule that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board could not rely upon expert medical opinion that amounted to mere speculation, a state appellate court affirmed the Board’s determination that a claimant did not sustain a causally related disability resulting from his stroke where his physician repeatedly indicated that the claimant’s employment-related stress “may have been” or “could’ve been a contributory factor.” The court acknowledged that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Law did not require that medical opinions be expressed with absolute or reasonable medical certainty. It must, however, be reasonably apparent that the expert meant to signify a probability as to the cause and that his or her opinion be supported by a rational basis. The physician’s opinion that work-related stress “might” have been a factor was inadequate.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Matter of Qualls v Bronx Dist. Attorney’s Office, 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 409 (3rd Dept., Jan. 19, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 130.06.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law