The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, Reviewing Board, recently issued a decision in an appeal addressing whether an injured certified nurse’s assistant’s work-related injuries were due to an industrial accident or the result of previous injuries. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer argued that an incident at work, the incident at issue, did not cause her disability or need for treatment. But the Board stated that when a prior condition combines with an industrial accident, the employee need not prove “a major cause” of the disability if that prior condition was work-related.
Cheryl Briere worked as a certified nurse’s assistant from 1972 to 2011. Over the years, she suffered injuries, some of which were work-related. In 1994, she hurt her back lifting a 350-pound man into a vehicle. She received workers’ compensation benefits for it. In 1998, she hurt her back and neck in a vehicle collision, but she did not lose time from work.
In 1991, Ms. Briere began working for Lowell General Hospital. On unspecified dates, with injury reports for some dates, she injured her back and hips. In 2004, she sought medical treatment after being involved in another car accident. She was then treated for hip and back pain in 2005, as well as neck and back pain in 2008.