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old fashioned clockJust like a civil claim for personal injuries, workers’ compensation claims are subject to statutes of limitations. In other words, there are certain time limits that apply to when you must file your claim for benefits. If you fail to file by the expiration of the statute of limitations, you are precluded from pursuing compensation. As seasoned Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers, we have assisted many injured workers with asserting their claims before the statute of limitations expires.

A recent decision from a Massachusetts court discusses the application of a statute of limitations in a claim for work injury benefits. The worker was employed as a nurse when she injured her neck in 2007. After receiving treatment at the emergency room, she continued to work until the pain became worse later that year. She received a discectomy and fusion procedure and did not work for four months. The worker did not apply for workers’ compensation benefits for this injury but indicated that she received short-term disability payments. She also stated that she did not report the work-related injury to her employer.

The woman sought medical treatment again in 2009 but continued to work. One evening after a long shift, she became unable to turn her head. She received treatment for this injury and did not work for three months. She received short-term disability benefits but did not apply for workers’ compensation benefits. She came back to work in 2014 but left eventually, due to her neck pain. She underwent another discectomy and fusion procedure in 2015 and did not return to work.

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home hospital bedThe Massachusetts workers’ compensation system provides benefits and medical expenses reimbursement to employees who are injured while at work. For serious and catastrophic injuries, ensuring that you receive the compensation that you deserve can be a long and difficult process. At Pulgini & Norton, our knowledgeable team of work injury lawyers is prepared to help victims of permanent injuries seek the financial assistance that they deserve.

A recent workers’ compensation claim discusses benefits in the context of a serious injury. The employee was working in a psychiatric ward when a patient attacked him, resulting in serious injuries. The patient kicked and hit the worker in his abdomen and chest, and he also lost consciousness during the attack. The worker required substantial treatment for his injuries, which consisted of chronic lumbar and leg pain, a fractured right lower leg, deep vein thrombosis, and more. The worker was not able to return to his regular occupation as a result of the injuries.

The employee filed a workers’ compensation claim seeking a variety of benefits, including temporary total incapacity benefits and reimbursement for medical expenses. The judge assigned to the workers’ compensation claim awarded the employee a variety of benefits, including temporary total incapacity benefits. The worker suffered from a pre-existing seizure disorder as well as a degenerative arthritis condition, but the judge found that these injuries did not combine with the work-related injuries or extend the worker’s need for medical treatment.

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Empty subway tunnelWork accidents can result in a wide variety of injuries. Some of these injuries heal over time, while others result in permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss. If you have been injured on the job, and you are facing a permanent or catastrophic disability, it is essential that you consult a seasoned Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer to help you ensure that you receive the full amount of benefits and compensation that you deserve. At Pulgini & Norton, we pride ourselves on assisting injured workers suffering from a wide variety of conditions.

In a recent workers’ compensation appeals decision, the injured worker and the employer appealed a decision that awarded the worker permanent hearing loss benefits and medical benefits. The employee worked as a laborer for the same employer for roughly 30 years. During two decades of that time, the employee worked in subway tunnels, where the work environment routinely involved screeching and deafening noises. Although these noises were incredibly harsh, the employer prohibited employees from wearing hearing protection due to safety precautions.

The worker began suffering hearing loss during 2004 and continued to experience hearing issues for 12 years. The worker retired in December 2012. After retirement, the worker sought employment elsewhere but had difficulties. He claimed that his hearing loss made him an undesirable candidate because employers saw it as a safety issue. The worker eventually obtained a temporary custodial position with the U.S. Postal Service.

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skeleton hip boneAlthough some work injury cases are very straightforward when it comes to diagnosing the nature and scope of the injury, there are other instances in which the medical issues can be complex. At Pulgini & Norton, our seasoned Boston workers’ compensation lawyers have handled a diverse array of work injury cases involving all kinds of accidents. The Massachusetts workers’ compensation rules allow injured workers to offer additional evidence in some instances in which the complexity of the medical issues requires a deeper analysis. Being able to offer this additional evidence to support your claim for compensation can make all of the difference in your ability to recover benefits, as a recent Massachusetts appellate opinion demonstrates.

The facts of the case are as follows. The employee worked at an electric company starting in 1980. On May 31, 2011, the employee suffered an injury when a revolving door struck his left knee. He fell at the time of the blow and suffered an injury to his left side as well. The employee saw two doctors, who treated his left knee and left hip injuries, respectively. The employee required surgery on both of his knees and was awarded weekly indemnity benefits while he recovered.

The employee filed a workers’ compensation claim, which the employer’s insurer rejected. The claim proposed a total left hip replacement surgery, alleging that the surgery stemmed from the May 31, 2011 accident. The employee appealed. As part of the appeal process, the employee saw an impartial physician, who examined the employee.

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wet bare feetOne common question that we receive regarding workers’ compensation claims is whether psychiatric disabilities can qualify for benefit payments. There are some instances in which psychiatric injuries will qualify for compensation. As with any other injury, however, insurers often take every step they can to fight an award of benefits in the employee’s favor. As seasoned Massachusetts work injury lawyers, we know how important it is to assert our clients’ rights vigorously throughout the entire claims process.

In the case, the employee was injured at work when she slipped and fell on a set of stairs. The injury resulted in several fractures in her left foot. Her employer accepted liability for her injury, including an orthopedic injury. The employee had also filed two prior claims for psychiatric treatment. At the time it accepted the foot injury, the employer accepted liability for the psychiatric sequela. The insurer paid partial incapacity benefits to exhaustion as well as some temporary total incapacity benefits.

The employee underwent a number of surgeries on her left foot that yielded some improvement, but she still experienced pain and discomfort when walking, particularly up stairs and on uneven surfaces. She testified that as a result of her debilitating condition and the symptoms associated with her foot condition, she experienced sadness, crying, and fits of anger. After a hearing, the judge presiding over the claim concluded that the employee was permanently and totally disabled due to her foot condition as well as her severe depression arising from the accident. He awarded her the remainder of the temporary total incapacity benefits.

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knee with scarEven if you’ve been awarded workers’ compensation benefits, there is no guarantee that your benefits will continue. Employers have the option to file complaints seeking modifications of the award, which could change the amount of compensation that you receive. At Pulgini & Norton, our dedicated Boston workers’ compensation lawyers take pride in assisting clients with the claims process not only immediately after the injury but also throughout the entire claim. As a recent opinion illustrates, anticipating modifications and being ready to protect your right to benefits can make all of the difference.

The case involved an employee who suffered a right knee injury during her work as a registered nurse during November 2011. According to her testimony, the injury happened while she was providing assistance to a patient. The injury required her to take time off from work and to undergo a surgical repair for the knee. Although she returned to work, her chronic pain and associated symptoms required her to leave work in June 2012. She applied for workers’ compensation benefits, which her self-insured employer accepted.

The insurer provided temporary total disability benefits extending from December 2011 to when she returned to work, and from her last date of work and continuing. Some time thereafter, the employer filed a complaint to discontinue the temporary total disability benefits, which was initially denied. The insurer appealed, and the appeal was granted. After a series of medical examinations, testimony from vocational expert witnesses offered by each party, and a hearing, the judge adopted the vocational expert witness testimony of the employer.

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Man showing backKnowing which medical treatments you can receive after suffering a work-related injury and whether it will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits can be difficult to determine, especially if you are dealing with painful symptoms. At Pulgini & Norton, our dedicated team of Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers has guided many Boston residents and their families through the claims process. As a recent opinion illustrates, having a seasoned attorney on your side can help you ensure that your right to compensation and reimbursement is protected.

In the case, the employee suffered a back injury during his employment at a supermarket in 1991. He underwent a surgical procedure to address the injury in 1992 and returned to work in 1993 for an electric company. He was laid off in 2009 and rehired in August 2011 to work on a large job. He was laid off again in March 2012, at which time he filed a claim seeking workers’ compensation benefits. He alleged that while no specific injury or event had caused his pain, he suffered injuries as a result of repetitive tasks like lifting and carrying.

After an initial hearing, the judge awarded the employee temporary total incapacity benefits. They did not require the employer to provide compensation for back surgery, however. The employee underwent a medical examination that the judge deemed sufficient. Neither party requested a chance to depose the expert or to offer additional medical evidence. Based on the medical report, the judge concluded that the employee suffered a work-related injury between August 2011 and March 2012. He also found that the work-related injury was the major and predominant cause of his disability despite his pre-existing back injury. The judge awarded temporary total and partial incapacity benefits and required the employer to provide reimbursement for all medical expenses. This included a November 2013 back surgery.

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nurse in scrubsWhen it comes to receiving workers’ compensation benefits, there are many different considerations that go into determining the amount of wage compensation an injured employee is entitled to receive. One of the biggest determinations involves assessing whether the injured worker has any pre-existing conditions affecting the same part of their body or health as the claimed work injury. To be compensable, a work injury affecting a pre-existing condition must be deemed the major cause of the claimed injury. At Pulgini & Norton, our experienced Massachusetts work injury lawyers have assisted employees with handling claims involving pre-existing conditions and ensuring that they receive the maximum amount of compensation that they deserve.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court discussed the difference between total incapacity benefits and partial incapacity benefits. The plaintiff worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) since 1994. In July 2013, the employee reported suffering an injury after she and another CNA transferred a patient to another hospital bed. She did not pursue treatment for her injury until August 2013. The evidentiary record contained conflicting information regarding the date that the injury occurred, but the employee filed her claim for workers’ compensation benefits on July 23 and stated that date as the date of the accident.

The lower court reviewed the employee’s claim and credited her testimony regarding how the injury happened as well as the relative events associated with the purported date of the injury. The employer’s insurance company challenged this determination, arguing that another date should have been used as the date the injury occurred. Based on the evidence in the record, the lower court rejected the insurer’s claim and set July 29 as the date the injury happened.

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cervical spine xrayIn addition to receiving compensation for your lost wages, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system provides injured workers with reimbursement for the medical expenses they incur as a result of the injury. Although this sounds straightforward, many claims become protracted when an insurance company denies payment for all or some of the medical bills that an injured employee submits. At Pulgini & Norton, our seasoned Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers have handled numerous claims involving disputed medical bill reimbursements.

A recent appellate opinion discusses the issue of whether an insurer must pay for certain aspects of an injured employee’s medical care. The employee suffered a neck injury during the course and scope of her employment as a cleaner and transporter. She applied for workers’ compensation benefits, and her claim was accepted. To treat her injury, the plaintiff underwent a spinal fusion procedure, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Her treating physician recommended another cervical fusion, which she accepted. A few days after her second procedure, the employee settled her workers’ compensation claim by opting to receive a lump sum settlement in lieu of weekly benefit payments.

The following year, the employee’s doctor performed a procedure on her lower back that was not related to the work injury. Roughly two years later, the employee filed a request for reimbursement of medical expenses for a pain patch that her physician prescribed to manage the pain associated with her neck injury. The employer’s insurance carrier had been paying for half the cost of the patch up until the hearing. During the hearing, the judge denied the employee’s claim for payment of her outstanding medical bills but concluded that the employer should continue paying for half of the pain patch. Both the employee and the insurance carrier appealed.

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Men with jackhammer

A complicated aspect of any Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim is determining the nature and extent of the injury, especially when the claimant has prior injuries or health conditions. At Pulgini & Norton, we have counseled numerous Massachusetts residents regarding their rights following a work-related injury. As a recent appellate opinion indicates, if your employer’s insurance carrier decides to appeal any decision awarding you benefits, having a seasoned attorney on your side can make all of the difference.

The background of the case is as follows. The claimant was a plumber who suffered injuries to his neck during sleep. As a result of these injuries, the plumber underwent a procedure on his neck in 2004 and eventually returned to work. About four years later, the plumber, who had been self-employed, took a job working for a plumbing company. In 2013, the employee reported pain and stiffness in his neck after he operated a hammer drill for approximately one hour. The plaintiff sought medical treatment from a neurosurgeon.

The employer, which was self-insured, paid the employee benefit payments for a period of time. Then, the employee filed a claim seeking incapacity benefits on a continuing basis. The judge reviewing the application ordered the employer to pay the employee benefits for the time period from when he was injured and continuing. After the award, the employee underwent an impartial medical examination. The doctor determined that the neurosurgeon who originally treated the employee did not give enough weight to his preexisting neck injury and cervical spinal procedure. The employer moved to admit the additional medical testimony, which the judge allowed.

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