One of the most daunting aspects of a workers’ compensation claim is ensuring that you do not make any procedural errors early in the process that will have an impact on your ability to recover benefits. Consulting a seasoned Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer early in the process is one of the best ways to avoid the headaches that can arise from procedural mistakes, as the following recent claim demonstrates.
The claimant alleged that she suffered an injury to her back while working in December 2003. She notified her employer, which initiated a workers’ compensation claim with its insurance carrier. The carrier denied the claim, and the claimant appealed. An administrative law judge upheld the denial of medical benefits and incapacity benefits at the appeal hearing. After an additional series of appeals, the case made its way to the Court of Appeals of Massachusetts. This court affirmed the ALJ’s ruling denying benefit payments to the claimant.
In the years that followed, the claimant continued to assert claims seeking incapacity benefits regarding the 2003 injury. In each instance, the claim was withdrawn after the ALJ concluded that it was precluded based on a legal principle known as res judicata. This widely recognized legal principle holds that a matter cannot be revisited after a final judgment has been rendered after considering the merits of the action.