Work injuries can be absolutely debilitating, resulting in a major disruption in your life, as well as the possibility of a permanent disability. One of the most important aspects of a claim is ensuring that the medical records are consistent with the injury that you’ve sustained and that the court follows appropriate rules when making evidentiary findings regarding the relation between your injury and your job duties. At Pulgini & Norton, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to help you understand your legal rights and to claim the compensation that you deserve.
A recent case discusses some of the evidentiary standards that judges must use when considering medical reports prepared by independent medical examiners. At the time of the injury, the worker was employed as a picker for five years with the same employer. He suffered an injury to his right shoulder and thumb that caused him to miss a few days of work. When he returned, he was assigned to light duty. Sometime later, he experienced a sharp pain in the injured shoulder and sought medical treatment. He did not return to work. Physical therapy did not relieve his symptoms so he underwent a fusion surgery that resulted in additional pain, lack of motion, and the inability to pick up things with that hand. Additional rounds of physical therapy proved unhelpful.
Regarding his physical limitations, the worker indicated that he was unable to care for his minor children, to take care of household chores and that he felt capable of performing full-time light duty work. He was examined by an independent medical examiner who concluded that the worker was reporting greater levels of pain than what would be expected and that there was no evidence to explain the second shoulder injury. Ultimately, the judge adopted these findings and the report’s finding that the shoulder injury was “not a workers’ compensation issue.” It also adopted a finding that the worker’s complaints outweighed the medical tests and assessments regarding the mobility and functionality of his left shoulder.