The Massachusetts Court of Appeals made a ruling recently in a workers’ compensation case that sheds some light on what happens when new evidence regarding workers’ compensation injuries comes to light decades after the incident occurs.
In the case, In re Baillargeon’s Case, Mass. Ct. App. (2014), the employee Dorothy Baillargeon suffered an injury in 1978 during the course of her duties as a nurse at a Commonwealth hospital, when a patient kicked her in the left temple region of her head. As a result of emotional and physical symptoms, the employee pursued a workers’ compensation claim. The impartial medical examiner who examined her in 1984 concluded that the accident resulted in a contusion of the employee’s left temporal lobe, and that it caused post-concussion symptoms including hostility, emotional dysfunction, depression, and more. As a result, he concluded that she had no capacity for performance of employment duties. A psychologist concurred in the prognosis and classified the employee’s resultant incapacity for employment as total and permanent. She was thus deemed entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.