Disability stemming from any disease within the course of employment may entitle the employee to compensation, if the disease is found to be occupational in nature. Di Nicola v. Crucible Steel, Inc., 83 A.D.2d 735, 736, 442 N.Y.S.2d 582, 584 (3d Dept. 1981); see also Rodriguez v. Atlantic Gummed Paper Corp., 61 A.D.2d 873, 402 N.Y.S.2d 238, 239 (3d Dept. 1978). To be considered an occupational disease, the disease must be the
“result of a distinctive feature of the kind of work performed by claimant and others similarly employed, not an ailment caused by the peculiar place in which the particular claimant happens to work … or caused by ordinary contact with a fellow employee ….”
Paider v. Park East Movers, 19 N.Y.2d 373, 380, 280 N.Y.S.2d 140, 144, 227 N.E.2d 40, 43 (1967) (citations omitted). In order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits based upon an occupational disease, the claimant must “establish a ‘recognizable link’ between his condition and a distinctive feature of his occupation.” Engler v UPS, 767 NYS2d 496, 498 . Therefore, the foundation of determining if a disability resulted from an occupational disease is whether a distinctive feature of employment caused the disability.
Two factors result in occupational diseases: exposure to toxins and repetitive activity. This article discusses both and then provides some practical takeaways for practictioners defending these claims. Continue reading Understanding the “Distinctive Feature of Employment” Requirement for Occupational Disease Claims In New York