The Third Department. over a dissent, determined petitioner police officer was entitled to accidental disability retirement benefits for injuries caused by stepping in a snow-covered pothole while he responded to a series of vehicle accidents during a snowstorm:
As this Court has stated, “[t]o be deemed accidental, an injury must not have been the result of activities undertaken in the ordinary course of one’s job duties but, rather, must be due to a precipitating accidental event which is not a risk of the work performed” … .
There can be no dispute that, at the time of the incident, petitioner was performing his ordinary job duties of responding to a series of traffic accidents that had occurred during his shift and that falling on a slippery snow- and ice-covered road may be a risk of petitioner’s ordinary job duties. However, we find that falling due to a pothole concealed under the snow and ice is not such a risk … . Accordingly, given these circumstances, petitioner’s fall was a sudden and unexpected event that constitutes an accident as matter of law … . Matter of Lewis v New York State Comptroller, 2019 NY Slip Op 07828, Third Dept 10-31-19