The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog

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Newsblurb: Workers comp victory for a dry eye patient

Appeals court upholds comp benefits for worker in Iraq

NEW YORK—Substantial evidence exists to find that a truck driver who worked in Iraq is entitled to the maximum allowable workers compensation benefits under the Defense Base Act, a federal appeals court has ruled.

To reach its decision Thursday that the truck driver’s dry eye condition is compensable, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York first had to determine if it had jurisdiction over Defense Base Act appeals....

...After reaching that conclusion, the court upheld decisions by an administrative law judge and a U.S. Labor Department benefits review board. They ordered the employer to compensate Jesse Barrios for a temporary total disability lasting from Dec. 20, 2005, through May 21, 2006, and a partial disability commencing on May 22, 2006.

The employer was also ordered to pay his medical bills.

Service Employees International appealed, arguing among other issues that Mr. Barrios suffered from an eye syndrome before he worked in Iraq and his condition was not caused by his employment there.

But the appeals court found that even a medical expert for the employer said there was “some possibility” that chronic dryness in Iraq could have worsened the eye problem.
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