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New York: Trucker's Reckless Driving Was Not Willful Intent to Injure Herself

June 28, 2020 (1 min read)

Stressing that reckless conduct, such as operating a motor vehicle well in excess of a safe limit, did not amount to the sort of willful intent to injure oneself, a New York appellate court affirmed a finding by the state's Workers' Compensation Board that awarded benefits to a truck driver who was injured in a roll-over crash as she exited the highway at 67 mph (signs along the exit stated the speed limit was 35 mph). The employer and its carrier had controverted the claim, contending that under N.Y. Workers' Comp. Law § 10(1), the trucker's actions amounted to willful intent to injure herself. The employer and carrier also pointed to the fact that a post-accident drug screen revealed the presence of cocaine in claimant's system. The appellate court found, however, that there was no evidence as to the level of cocaine or when it had been ingested. Accordingly, such evidence could not support a denial of the claim. The court also indicated that under N.Y. Workers' Comp. § 21(3), the burden, therefore, was on the carrier to show willfulness.

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 McGee v. Johnson Equip. Sales & Serv., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3254 (3d Dept. June 4, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 38.06.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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