All posts by Nidhi Shetye

Nidhi Shetye is an associate attorney at Lois LLC where she defends employers and carriers in New York workers’ compensation claims. Nidhi can be reached directly at nshetye@lois-llc.com or 201-880-7213.

Understanding the “Distinctive Feature of Employment” Requirement for Occupational Disease Claims In New York

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 [2003]. 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

Calculating Average Weekly Wage Under Section 14 of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law

Attorney Nidhi Shetye joins LOIS.
Attorney Nidhi Shetye joins LOIS.
The claimant’s average weekly wage (“AWW”) lays the foundation for calculating weekly indemnity payments. It is, therefore, imperative to correctly calculate a claimant’s average weekly wage under the (not-so-clear) provisions of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law (“WCL”). Section 14 (4) of the WCL defines the claimant’s AWW as one fifty-second (1/52) of the claimant’s average annual earnings. Put simply, this means, the claimant’s yearly gross income divided by 52, the number of weeks in a year. This raises the question of calculating a claimant’s yearly income.

Section 14 (1) guides in calculating the annual wage for claimants who worked in the same employment at the time of the accident, whether for the same employer or not, during substantially the whole of the year immediately preceding his injury. WCL §14(1). For section 14 (1) to apply, the claimant needs to have had the same job for most of the year preceding his work-related injury, regardless of whether he had the same employer. Id. Once the claimant meets this criterion, his annual earnings are the product of his daily wages and either 260, if he worked 5 days a week, or 300, where the claimant worked six-day weeks. Id. Continue reading Calculating Average Weekly Wage Under Section 14 of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law