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New York: No Death Benefits Following Apparent Suicide by Police Officer

October 19, 2019 (1 min read)

Substantial evidence supported a determination by New York’s Workers’ Compensation Board that a police officer’s death from what appeared to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound was not a “line-of-duty” death, held a state appellate court. While it was true that the officer’s body was found in her police vehicle and during a time frame within which she was on duty, videotape evidence pointed to suicide, ordinarily a non-compensable fact pattern. The court observed that the deceased officer had no history of mental illness or substance abuse. She had experienced some work-related difficulties, but nothing particularly unusual, according to colleagues. The deceased officer had begun marriage counseling and had experienced some depression and/or stress during the holiday season. The Board found that such facts failed to establish the required causal relationship between the employment and the resulting suicide.

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Matter of Delacruz v. Incorporated Vil. of Freeport, 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6852 (3d Dept., Sept. 26, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 38.02.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see