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Court rules worker who slipped and fell on ice should have seen it coming

Court rules worker who slipped and fell on ice should have seen it coming

A New York Department of Public Safety worker isn't entitled to enhanced disability benefits because his fall in an icy parking lot wasn't an “accident,” a New York appellate court has ruled.

James C. Begley worked as an ordinance enforcement officer with the Department of Public Safety in Suffolk County, New York, court records show.

On his way to work in February 2011, he slipped on ice and sustained injuries to his legs, knees and back, according to records. As a result, Mr. Begley applied for disability retirement benefits, and sought “enhanced benefits on the basis that the incident constituted an accident within the meaning of (the state's) Retirement and Social Security Law.”

His application was denied. On appeal, a three-judge panel of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division's 3rd Judicial Department on Thursday affirmed that Mr. Begley isn't entitled to enhanced disability benefits.

Mr. Begley testified that there was an ice storm the night before he was injured, and that he anticipated icy road conditions, so “he should have reasonably anticipated that the parking lot would be slippery when he exited his vehicle,” the ruling states.

Since his fall was considered “entirely foreseeable … the incident did not constitute an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law and, thus, that petitioner was not entitled to enhanced benefits,” according to the ruling.

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