Worker's Compensation

Smoking, Not Work: Court Rejects Workers’ Compensation Claim

An appeals court rejects a workers’ compensation claim and ruled that smoking, not the dust and debris at work, caused the lung problems of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff, Ernesto Blanco, had lodged a claim to seek compensation benefits. In his lawsuit, Blanco alleged that the work conditions at an event management firm where he had been working caused his lung problems. His claim had previously been denied by a Judge of Compensation Claims and was now being heard in an appeals court.

The court noted that Blanco had worked at the event management company for only 11 days. As per his claim, he had been handling sawdust and debris at the company during this period, and that this caused him to acquire a lung condition.

In its ruling, the court stated that Blanco was known to have been smoking for at least 17 years. The court ruled that it was his nearly two-decade-long smoking and not the work conditions that had caused lung problems. This ruling was backed by the opinion of the medical expert who testified at the court. Court records also revealed the Blanco had been using an inhaler before he joined the job.

The plaintiff attempted to make several arguments to counter the court’s objections. In one instance, Blanco also attempted to object to the medical expert who he claimed was not a pulmonologist. However, the court rejected these objections.

In its original decision, the compensation court had decided that the real cause of Blanco’s lung problems was smoking, not the work conditions at his brief job with the event management company. The appeals court decided that it found no error in this original ruling, effectively rejecting the plaintiff’s appeal. It must be noted that causation is a critical component of a workers’ compensation claim.

If you need help with your workers’ compensation, contact us for assistance.