Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

When you suffer an injury on the job, the Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system is designed to provide you with benefit payments to make up for your lost wages as well as reimbursement for any reasonable and necessary medical bills. Some injuries that happen at work heal over time, but others leave the victim with permanent disabilities and pain. In a workers’ compensation claim, one key determination that the court will make is whether you have reached maximum medical improvement. This has an impact on whether you can receive compensation for additional medical treatment, whether you are able to return to work in the same capacity, and more. At Pulgini & Norton, we provide seasoned guidance to injured workers to ensure that they receive the fair outcome that they deserve.

Recently, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered a claim in which the plaintiff, an injured worker, disagreed with the lower court’s conclusion that he had reached maximum medical improvement. The employee had suffered a left shoulder injury in 2013 and a second injury to his back in 2014. The employer’s insurance company initially paid benefits to the worker for both injuries. In 2014, the insurer stopped paying benefits on the basis that it was not liable for the injuries, that the employee had a pre-existing condition, and that something other than his job was to blame for the injuries. After more proceedings, the court also concluded that the employee had reached maximum medical improvement for the shoulder injury. The judge also awarded compensation for the back injury.

On appeal, the employee argued that the lower court was mistaken in concluding that he did not require further medical treatment for his shoulder injury. The judge adopted an opinion from a medical examiner that the end result had been reached. The report also stated, however, that surgery to treat the left shoulder condition would be a reasonable, necessary, and causally related outcome of the shoulder injury. According to the appellate court, the judge mistakenly equated a medical end result with a lack of need for additional treatment.

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In some cases, work injuries are temporary and heal with proper treatment and rest. In other situations, the work-related injury can be so severe that it leads to permanent disabilities and injuries. The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide you with benefits to replace your lost wages while you heal and reimbursement for medical expenses. But when the injury is severe and ongoing, the system can become complex and the claim can go on for an extended period of time. At Pulgini & Norton, we proudly handle workers’ compensation cases involving severe injuries and disabilities.

In one Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim, the employee reportedly suffered traumatic injuries while working at a psychiatric department in a state hospital. A patient attacked the worker, kicking him repeatedly until he lost consciousness. As a result of the attack, he required ongoing medical treatment for a right leg fracture, deep vein thrombosis, chronic pain, and instability. The worker filed a claim for benefits and the judge made an award. In the award, the court found a number of pre-existing conditions that were not implicated in the accident such as the worker’s pre-existing degenerative arthritis of the spine. The judge concluded that these pre-existing conditions did not extend the need for treatment or the length of the employee’s incapacity.

The worker filed a claim for additional benefits. At the hearing, the judge concluded based on the evidence presented that the worker was so severely injured that he could barely care for himself and get around his home. Relying on an opinion from an independent medical examiner, the judge concluded that the worker was permanently and totally disabled as a result of the attack. The judge stated that the findings did not disturb the prior finding that the employee’s pre-existing conditions did not conflate with the attack.

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The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is designed to help injured workers cope with the expenses and burden that happens after an on-the-job accident. The benefits program only applies if the injury happened during the course and scope of the employee’s job duties, however. When it comes to accidents that happen while the employee is going to and from work, this can become complicated. One of the biggest issues that can come up in a claim for work injury benefits is whether the employee was on the clock or engaged in a personal activity. Our competent team of Boston work injury lawyers are ready to help you determine if you are entitled to compensation after a work-related accident.

A recent case explores what is referred to as the going and coming doctrine. The employee involved in the claim was working as a psychiatric nurse at the time of her injury according to a contract with a healthcare provider. She lived in Massachusetts and was assigned by her employer to work at a treatment facility in Vermont. She drove home from Vermont at the end of each five-day shift and was under the impression that she was being given expenses for lodging and meals for the five-day period. She did not seek reimbursement for travel expenses because the policy was not clear, according to her, and she did not think she was required to submit expenses.

On the date of the accident, the employee was leaving her five-day shift and driving back to her home in Massachusetts. She was involved in an accident on the way home that required several surgeries and rehabilitation. She suffered serious injuries and had no memory of the crash. She filed for workers’ compensation benefits and the insurer objected on the basis that she was not working at the time of the accident. The lower court judge reviewed evidence regarding the employee and employer relationship and determined that the employer was liable for benefit payments. The insurer appealed on the basis that the employee was not a traveling employee and that the going and coming rule should have barred compensation.

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One of the most important steps in a workers’ compensation claim is to determine the injured worker’s average weekly wage. This figure is used to determine the amount of benefit payments the worker should receive. Although there are clear rules and procedures that a court must use to determine the employee’s average weekly wage, there are often disputes about the evidence admitted to assist the judge with performing the calculation. As seasoned Boston work injury lawyers, we are standing by to help you ensure that you are treated fairly during your claim and that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

A recent claim involved an appeal from an employee of a hearing that required the Worker’s Compensation Trust Fund to pay benefits at the rate of $301.37 per week based on an average weekly wage calculation of $502.28. The employee reportedly suffered a work-related injury while working for a painting company. The employee painted houses primarily during the summer for a period of six months and also worked seasonally at the restaurant.

The only issue in the matter was whether the judge reached an appropriate determination regarding his average weekly wage. One of the stipulations that the parties entered into during the claim was that the employee was concurrently employed at a restaurant where he worked roughly 15 hours per week, earning $226.25 each week.

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When you are injured at work, you may receive prescriptions for certain medications to help treat your injuries and to manage the associated pain. The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system provides that employees who are injured in the line of work are eligible not only for weekly benefits to replace their lost wages but reimbursements for related medical expenses as well. Despite this clear provision, many insurers attempt to deny reimbursement for medical treatments and associated medications. At Pulgini & Norton, our Boston work injury lawyers are ready to fight on your behalf to ensure that you are treated fairly.

In a recent claim dispute, the insurer appealed from an order requiring it to pay benefits and reimbursement for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, including prescriptions for ibuprofen and Topamax. The insurer disputed the award on the basis that the presiding judge did not perform an appropriate analysis about the causal link between the injury and the treatment. It also argued that the lower court mischaracterized evidence regarding the worker’s status as obese.

The injury happened when the employee was attending a company cookout. He slipped and suffered an injury to his left knee. He tried to continue working but was unable to do so. He underwent multiple surgeries to his ankle and knee as a result. During the proceedings, the insurer raised a question as to whether the court had properly done an analysis regarding the employee’s obesity as a preexisting condition. The lower court ultimately awarded benefits and medical reimbursement payments and the insurer appealed.

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There is quite a bit of evidence that is collected during a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim. From doctors’ exams to hearing testimony, these documents become part of the record and help inform the judge about the appropriate ruling in your case. There can be many issues involving which pieces of evidence the just should consider and whether there is enough evidence in the record to support the outcome that the judge delivers. At Pulgini & Norton, we are ready to help you ensure that you are being treated fairly during a work injury claim proceeding and that you get the outcome that you deserve.

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court considered an appeal involving a woman who worked as a flight attendant when she allegedly suffered a work injury to her elbow resulting in surgery. She returned to work 18 months after the injury in a full-time capacity until she left work as the result of continuing pain. The employee sought reimbursement for medical expenses, but the insurer denied it raising a question of causation. In other words, the insurer was not convinced that the injury and resulting medical treatment were directly related to her job duties. A conference order was held, and the presiding judge ordered the insurer to pay the medical expenses. The insurer appealed the award.

The employee was next required to undergo a medical examination with an independent doctor who provided a report to the court. After this, the insurer revoked its rejection of the medical expenses claim and accepted liability for the injury. In the report, the doctor indicated that there was aggravation of underlying degenerative arthritis and disk disease as well as other symptoms and injuries. The doctor also said that the repetitive tasks that she performed at work were the sole cause of some of the medical issues.

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When you suffer an injury on the job, you may be able to recover and return to a normal functioning level. This can be a contentious issue in cases, especially when you argue that you still need medical treatment, but the insurer argues that you have reached maximum medical improvement. When complex medical conditions are involved, it can become even more frustrating. Part of the intent behind the workers’ compensation system is to ensure that an employee has the financial support that he or she needs to obtain medical treatment for the work-related injury. As seasoned Boston work injury attorneys, we have handled a variety of workers’ compensation cases on behalf of injured workers throughout the region. Our team will fight zealously for you to ensure that you receive the fair treatment and outcome that you deserve.

A recent case explored a situation involving an employee who reportedly suffered a shoulder injury followed by a back injury while at work. The employee received benefits, but the insurer eventually raised issues including causation, that the employee had a pre-existing condition, and that his injury was not caused by a work-related condition. At the hearing to determine whether the employee was entitled to benefits, the employee requested payment for the reasonable cost of a shoulder surgery to address his shoulder condition.

The judge concluded that the employee had reached maximum improvement on his shoulder injury but that he was partially disabled as a result. The judge also awarded benefits for the back injury, finding it to be causally related to his job duties. Both parties appealed. The judge also noted that the employee had sought medical benefits in a general fashion.

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Workers often experience several injuries throughout their careers. The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system provides benefits and medical expense payments to injured workers for injuries that happen as a result of their job duties. These benefits are available for each injury that happens in the course and scope of employment. In some situations, however, prior injuries can create complicated situations in benefits claims involving new injuries. For this reason, it is essential to consult with an experienced Boston work injury lawyer to ensure that you are being treated fairly and that you are receiving the compensation that you deserve.

In a recent workers’ compensation claim, the employee worked as a lineman starting in 1996. In 2012, he reportedly suffered injuries when a four-foot retaining wall on which he was standing collapsed. He kept working after the accident until he had shoulder surgery. After that, he returned to light-duty work in January 2013 until he left work in April of that same year claiming that he was unable to work without extreme pain even in a light-duty capacity. The worker sought benefits for this injury as well and sought compensation for physical therapy to address neck pain.

The worker also received benefits for his injuries. As part of the claims process, he underwent an independent medical examination. Based on the medical evidence and testimony from the employee submitted, the judge rejected the employee’s claim that he suffered a second work-related injury in 2013 that allegedly caused him to leave work, denying the employee’s claim for physical therapy to address pain in his neck. Regarding the original accident involving the collapsing retaining wall, the court awarded benefits in the amount of $671.32 based on an earning capacity of $400.00 per week.

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Workers’ compensation claims can be confusing. There are many steps in the process and a variety of considerations that are taken into account before you are awarded weekly benefit payments. One of these considerations is how much your average weekly wage is, which is used to determine the amount of benefits that you will receive. There are a variety of ways that judges can calculate your average weekly wage and in some situations the judge may not take the right approach, resulting in lower benefit payments than you deserve. Our dedicated team of Boston work injury lawyers are ready to assist you with ensuring that you receive the appropriate treatment in the claims process.

In a recent claim, the appellate court was asked to consider whether the lower court calculated the injured employee’s average weekly wage correctly. The insurer appealed a determination from the lower court judge that the employee’s average weekly wage was $1,726.37 after the judge concluded that new evidence about the employee’s wages rendered a stipulation between the parties invalid. According to the insurer, the employee did not appeal from the conference order including this determination and did not file a request to submit a late appeal and the lower court also made an error regarding a determination that the employee suffered an injury to his right knee as a result of the accident.

First, regarding the knee injury, the judge concluded that the lower court made improper findings in its order based on the fact that the worker and the insurer had signed a stipulation stating that the only issue for consideration in the hearing involved the employee’s average weekly wage and that there were no medical issues in dispute.

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The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is designed to provide injured workers with compensation for a variety of injuries that happen on the job including sudden accidents and injuries that result from repetitive and ongoing tasks. The system also provides compensation for situations where the employee suffers a disfigurement as a result of a work-related accident. Ensuring that you receive the compensation that you deserve and that you are being treated fairly can be stressful, especially if you are coping with the inconvenience of your injuries, pain, and being out of work. Let our dedicated team of seasoned Boston work injury lawyers at Pulgini & Norton assist you with this matter.

In a recent case, the employee reportedly suffered disfigurement in the form of a limp as the result of a work injury associated with his left knee. In a conference hearing to determine whether the employee was entitled to benefits, the presiding judge awarded $8,205.53 for the disfigurement. Both parties appealed and the employee underwent an independent medical examination. Although the resulting report did not address the limp, the doctor did note that the employee walked “without an obvious limp.” Following this report, the insurer withdrew its appeal of the original order. The judge stated that the only issue left to resolve was the amount of compensation to be awarded to the employee.

The judge observed the employee at another hearing and noted that the employee walked with a slight limp. The judge also credited the employee’s testimony regarding his limp and the insurer’s witness, who conducted surveillance on the employee. The investigator testified that the employee did walk with a limp. Based on this evidence and other evidence submitted, the judge awarded the employee $10,940.70, which was calculated by multiplying the state average weekly wage on the date that the employee suffered the injury by 10. The judge considered this to be in the middle range of awards.

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