In a workers’ compensation claim, medical experts are often used to help the administrative law judge determine many aspects of the issues involved, including the nature of the employee’s injury, whether the injury was completely a result of the worker’s job duties, and whether the condition will resolve over time. At Pulgini & Norton, our experienced team of Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers has handled numerous claims on behalf of injured workers and assisted them with ensuring that they receive the maximum amount of benefits that they deserve.
In a recent appellate opinion, the court discussed administrative law judges’ ability to rely on and adopt a medical expert’s opinion. The worker in the case was a man in his 50s working as a laborer with heavy equipment for the City of Pittsfield. The man claimed that he suffered a back injury while operating road equipment during 2008. Roughly one year later, he suffered another work-related injury. In 2012, he underwent a spinal surgery procedure.
The man then had an examination with a neutral medical doctor, but the administrative law judge ruled the exam insufficient due to the complexity of the medical issues involved. Sometime thereafter, the employer accepted liability for the second injury but claimed it stemmed from a pre-existing injury and other medical conditions. After another hearing, the administrative law judge concluded that all of the man’s injuries were related to his workplace activities. The employer was ordered to pay benefits to the man as a result.