A claim for compensation for workers submitted by a man who said he developed frostbite at work is not compensable because he died before sufficient evidence of the claim could be collected, an appeals court held on Thursday.
In Matter of Scano v. Doccs Taconic Correctional Facility New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department unanimously upheld a New York Workers' Compensation Board ruling that the prison staff could not be held responsible for his death for to connect their injury to the workplace.
Steven Scano moved a car on behalf of the employer and claimed that the action caused him to suffer frostbite on his left foot. When he sought treatment two weeks later, his foot became infected and he was amputated with one toe. He was also diagnosed with diabetes, kidney failure and secondary anemia.
He filed a claim for work compensation for foot injury approximately one month after the accident. He was scheduled for an independent medical examination and to testify about the origin of his injuries, but died before any of them occurred. His employer's compass insurer denied the claim on the grounds that it could not develop the record satisfactorily in view of Mr Scano's death, and the New York Workers' Compensation Board rejected the claim.
Mr. Scano's family appealed, but the Board of Appeal confirmed the denial. Although the insurer was able to review Scano's medical records and have his widow testify on his behalf, the court found that there was no direct evidence describing Scano's work activities at the date of the incident or that they led to his condition. Rather, the court found that the medical evidence linking his exposure to the toe amputation was based on his widow's account, although a treating physician acknowledged that the toe joint could have been caused by something as small as a small cut due to his diabetes.