Recently, the Reviewing Board for the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents affirmed an award of benefits to an employee for her physical and psychiatric disabilities. The Board made clear that this was a Massachusetts workers’ compensation case involving both orthopedic and psychiatric sequela, and therefore there was a causal connection between the employee’s injury and her depression. The Board also reviewed legal rules that require that medical testimony be considered as a whole when determining the opinion being given.
The employee in this case slipped and fell at work, suffering multiple fractures in her foot. The self-insurer paid workers’ compensation benefits related to this foot injury and to the psychiatric consequences of the injury. After undergoing multiple surgeries to her left foot, the employee had testified that she still suffered pain and had difficulty with stairs. According to the employee, she feels sad and cries often, due to her physical limitations and pain.
The judge had awarded the employee benefits based on his finding that she was permanently and totally disabled, both due to her orthopedic condition and due to her major depression caused by the work-related accident. The self-insurer appealed.