Virginia The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the injuries of a police officer who claimed he was injured while acting as a suspect in a training exercise were compensable, even though the officer could not determine the exact moment of his injury.
Charlottesville, Virginia, police officer William Sclafani 2017 participated in a SWAT team training activity, repeatedly sat on the ground, handcuffed with his hands behind his back and then picked up while still in handcuffs, according to documents from City of Charlottesville v .Sclafani, admitted to Richmond.
During the training, Mr Sclafani experienced some discomfort, but there was never any major pain. But at the end of the day, he discovered that he could not straighten his left arm, and as the evening progressed, he found that he could no longer move his arm up or down. He reported that he did not feel any pain until the next morning, according to documents.
Mr. Sclafani eventually demanded surgery for rotator cuff tears and traumatic impingement syndrome, and filed a workers' compensation claim, which the city denied, arguing that Sclafani "could not identify the specific incident that led to his injury," the documents said.
But Sclafani testified that on one occasion he was "taken up a little strangely" and "felt a little uncomfortable". As a result, both the State Labor Court and a Court of Appeal ruled that the damage was compensable. The city argued on appeal that because Sclafani "could not identify the specific incident that led to his injury, he failed to bear his burden."
Although the Supreme Court of the State agreed that there is no proven exact moment of injury, it found that evidence of an injury at some point during the training "was undisputed and we can not say that it was in itself unbelievable or incompatible with the other facts in the record. "
The court wrote that the city" focused on the fact that Sclafani admitted that he did not immediately feel a pop or crack or any intense pain at the time of the injury "and yet" offered no evidence that such symptoms would have suddenly manifested as a result of the injury suffered by Sclafani.