Declare denied for employee who died earlier than testifying

An employee compensation claim filed by a man who said he developed frostbite on the job is non-recoverable because he died before enough evidence could be gathered to support the claim, an appeals court held on Thursday.

On the Scano v Doccs Taconic Correctional Facility matter, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department unanimously upheld a ruling by the New York Workers Compensation Board that the correctional facility employee was unable to cope with his injury because of his death Connect workplace.

Steven Scano moved a car on the instructions of his employer, claiming that the action caused frostbite on his left foot. When he sought treatment two weeks later, his foot was infected and his toe was amputated. He has also been diagnosed with diabetes, kidney failure, and secondary anemia.

About a month after the accident, he applied for workers’ compensation for the foot injury. He was scheduled for an independent medical examination and was supposed to testify as to the genesis of his injury, but died before either happened. His employer’s compensation insurer dismissed the claim on the grounds that he was unable to adequately keep the records given Mr. Scano’s death, and the New York Workers Compensation Board denied the claim.

Mr Scano’s family appealed, but the appeals court upheld the refusal. Although the insurer was able to review Mr Scano’s medical records and have his widow testify on his behalf, the court found that there was no direct evidence of Mr Scano’s work activities on the day of the incident or that it led to his condition. Rather, the court found that the medical evidence of his exposure to the toe amputation was based on his widow’s report, although one attending physician conceded that something as small as a small cut from his diabetes could have caused the toe disease.

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