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July 24, 2012
Court: firefighters covered by workers’ comp

A New York court determined that a volunteer firefighter and emergency responder who was seriously injured on the way back from getting a flu shot is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The case involves Sharon Pettit who was with the Scipio, New York, Volunteer Fire District.

On her way home from a clinic in 2009, Pettit was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in multiple injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. She was awarded benefits by the workers’ compensation board under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law. The fire district and its comp carrier appealed.

An appeals court affirmed the decision of the workers’ compensation board. Pettit’s attorneys had argued that if not for the directive from the district regarding flu shots, she would not have gone to receive the vaccine. Thus, the court concluded, the injuries occurred within her duties as a volunteer firefighter.

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