Published on:

Janitor Hits His Head on a Pipe at a Small University


A man working as a janitor for a small private university was performing his usual tasks when he hit the back of his head on a metal pipe that overhung from the low ceiling of the basement of one of the buildings of the university. After hitting the back of his head against the metal pipe, he suddenly felt dizzy and his vision became fuzzy. He dropped to the floor and felt as though the entire left side of his body sagged. He was taken to a hospital immediately and was seen by a doctor’s assistant in the emergency room. He was immediately discharged when the doctor’s assistant noted that his symptoms had abated.

Dissatisfied with the diagnosis, man went to another hospital where he was diagnosed to have a brain injury: the area of his brain nearest the brain stem that leads to the spinal cord was bleeding. He stayed in the hospital for about thirty days. The Manhattan neurologist who treated him at the second hospital he went to gave a report that he believed that the brain injury sustained by the janitor was a direct result of the accident because the bleeding in the brain was in the same site as the area of his head that hit the metal pipe.

He later filed a complaint for damages under the Workmen’s Compensation Board. The doctor who treated him at the second hospital gave an opinion of his medical findings that the brain injury he sustained was a direct result of hitting his head against a metal pipe.

A year later, the janitor was examined by a neurologist retained by the Long Island university and he gave an opinion on his medical findings. He said that the brain injury sustained by the janitor was consistent with massive head trauma and not by hitting his head on a pipe. The neurologist for the university also opined that the janitor had been diagnosed with bleeding in his brain prior to the accident.

The Board found that the brain injury sustained by the janitor was caused by the accident. The university that employed the janitor asked for a review but the review board also found that there was medical evidence to support the conclusion that the brain injury sustained by the janitor was caused by his accident at the workplace. From his finding, the university appealed.

The only question before the Court is whether or not there is competent and credible medical evidence to support the finding that the brain injury sustained by the janitor was caused by the accidental hitting of his head against a metal pipe in the workplace.

The Court held that since the janitor’s claim for damages was brought under Workmen’s Compensation, the janitor has the burden of proving that the accident caused his disability. He may do so by presenting competent medical evidence. The evidence must not only consist of a medical opinion but it must also include objective medical data on which the medical opinion is based.

The Court also held that the Workmen’s Compensation Board has the obligation to resolve the issue of whether or not the evidence presented by the janitor is competent and whether or not the testimonies given by the janitor and his medical experts are credible.

Looking at the report and the decision of the Workmen’s Compensation Board and the Review Board, the Court noted that ample medical evidence was used to support its findings. Without any claim on the part of the employer of any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Board, the Court refuses to substitute its own findings for that of the Board.

If you hit the back of your head just like the janitor in this case and you are wondering if you can be compensated for the injuries you sustained, you need to speak with a New York Brain Injury lawyer. A New York City Brain Injury lawyer can explain to you how you can file a damages claim under Workmen’s Compensation against your employer. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today or come and visit any of their NYC Brain Injury attorneys. The NY Brain Injury attorneys from Stephen Bilkis are willing to answer any of your questions.

Contact Information