A recent opinion released by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, In re Driscoll’s Case, affirmed the decision of an administrative judge denying ongoing total incapacity benefits to an employee. The workers’ compensation case arose out of the employee’s claim that he suffered a work-related back injury in 2003. The self-insured employer had paid weekly incapacity benefits to the employee from July 22, 2003 through September 26, 2003. The employer, however, refused to pay the employee’s claim for ongoing benefits past that date.
At a hearing in front of the administrative judge, the employee, doctors, and an impartial medical examiner testified. Adopting the opinion of the impartial medical examiner, the administrative judge awarded medical benefits pursuant to G.L. c. 152 § 30 and total incapacity benefits under G.L. c. 152 § 34 to the employee through April 1, 2004. The employee appealed that decision, seeking ongoing benefits past that date. The Department of Industrial Accidents reviewing board affirmed the administrative judge’s decision, and the employee appealed to the Appeals Court of Massachusetts.