Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

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Injuries and medical conditions can be incredibly complicated, especially if they leave you unable to return to work in the same capacity. In a workers’ compensation case, one of the most important steps assessing your vocational options following the accident. If you cannot return to the same level of work, it may mean that you are eligible for vocational training and/or benefits. The dedicated Boston work injury lawyers at Pulgini & Norton have helped numerous individuals throughout the region with understanding their right to compensation in the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system.

In a recent case, the employee was working on a roof when the sheet of plywood that he was holding started to blow away in a gust of wind. He held onto the plywood, but the wind gust was strong, and he felt immediate pain in his shoulder. He went to a hospital and complained of a dislocated shoulder but ultimately returned to work. Three months later, he experienced a pop in his right shoulder when the bathtub that he was moving with another employee slipped. He went to the emergency room but left upon deciding that the wait time was too long. He worked for eight more months and reported to the hospital in 2010 with shoulder pain. He eventually was unable to report to work because of the pain.

After filing a claim for disability benefits, the worker was diagnosed with a right shoulder strain, chronic instability, and recurrent dislocations. The doctor who examined the worker concluded that these injuries were directly related to his occupation and the original plywood accident. He also concluded that the man was now permanently partially disabled. The presiding judge awarded only temporary total incapacitation benefits, however. The man tried to return to work but left when he was unable to lift a hammer due to the pain. He sought other employment but was forced to quit when the pain was still too great. Shortly after starting a vocational plan, he became incarcerated.

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Work-related injuries at work can lead to devastating injuries, but many workers try to push through their pain so that they can continue working. In some instances, the employer may try to reassign an employee to light-duty work in order to allow them time to recover while still earning wages. Some work injuries also involve a variety of symptoms and ongoing conditions that require extended medical treatment and analysis. This can make it more challenging for an employer to accept liability for your injury and pay you the benefits that you deserve. As dedicated Boston work injury lawyers, we will ensure that you receive the fair outcome that you deserve in your workers’ compensation claim.

In a recent appellate opinion, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered a claim where the injured worker suffered a work-related injury and spent the next few years undergoing different treatments and analyses to diagnose and address his injuries. Throughout this period, the employee reportedly made many attempts to return to work and even worked on light-duty status for a time. The employee suffered a slip and fall injury while working as a patrolman. he broke his fall with his right arm resulting in serious injuries to that extremity. He returned to work but continued to experience pain. He filed a claim for temporary incapacity benefits as well as medical expenses reimbursement, which he received.

Based on the employee’s good faith attempts to return to work, his lack of improvement in response to conservative medical treatment, his need for surgery, his increased pain, and the restrictions he experienced in his daily life, the judge concluded that the employee was totally disabled as a result of the injury and that he could not find work in the open labor market. The insurer appealed.

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Work-related injuries aren’t just physical in nature. They can also involve psychiatric injuries like PTSD. At Pulgini & Norton, we have provided diligent and compassionate legal assistance to injured workers suffering a variety of work-related harms. We know how intimidating the claims process can be and how frustrating it feels to wonder whether you will be able to return to work in the same capacity. We are standing by and ready to assist you with asserting your right to benefits and medical expenses reimbursements.

In a recent Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker appealed a finding from the court that his physical injuries had resolved and that he did not suffer psychiatric injuries that limited his ability to work. The order also concluded that his claim for treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was unreasonable and not related to his injury. The man worked as a court officer from 1997 until 2012, which involved providing security services in the courtroom and escorting prisoners. He was involved in an altercation with a prisoner in 2012 that resulted in him being taken to the hospital. He reported experiencing headaches and vertigo months later.

Initially, the employer accepted liability for the man’s injuries, but the insurer contested the claim for psychiatric injuries. The presiding judge adopted the opinion of one of the testifying doctors that the man did not have any psychiatric injuries or neurological impairment, and also denied the man’s claim for reimbursement for treatments related to his claimed psychiatric injury. The employee appealed.

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The workers’ compensation claims process can be a major headache, especially if this is your first time seeking benefits for a work injury. Knowing which documents to file and the right process for ensuring that you receive the benefits that you deserve is not something you should have to stress about when you are also focusing on healing and getting back to work. Our seasoned team of Boston workers’ compensation lawyers is ready to help you assert your rights and to receive the fair outcome that you deserve.

Recently, a Massachusetts court considered a claim in which the injured employee alleged that the insurer failed to reimburse him for prescription medications in violation of an order. Initially, the employee argued that the employer’s insurance company did not make all of the payments due to him under a prior conference order. The insurer filed an appeal regarding the original order and before the hearing on the appeal, the employee filed a claim seeking penalties and a request that the claim for penalties be heard at the appeal. The employee later admitted that the request for penalties did not comply with the statutory requirements because it failed to include an affidavit stating when the payment was due when a payment was made, and the amount of payments still owed.

Before the judge could issue an order on the request for penalties, the insurer paid the outstanding balance for the prescription medications. Because the employee failed to follow the appropriate requirements in seeking penalties, however, the judge denied the request for penalties for failure to pay.

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Many different factors go into determining whether an injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, such as determining whether the injury is causally related to his or her job duties, the average weekly wage that he or she earned and whether the injuries prohibit the employee from performing his or her usual job duties. As seasoned Massachusetts work injury lawyers, we are standing by to assist you with ensuring that you receive the full amount of benefits that you deserve.

A recent claim discusses many of these key issues, including causation and average weekly wage calculations. The man hurt himself while lifting objects at working, experiencing a sharp pain in his back. Testimony at a hearing revealed that he was paid through many different forms, including personal checks, cash, and corporate checks. The judge determined that his average weekly wage was $800.00.  The judge also concluded that the man had received unemployment compensation.

The man underwent a medical examination with an independent medical examiner. This doctor determined that the employee could return to full-time employment with some restrictions and that he had a pre-existing condition that was made worse due to the work injury. The doctor estimated that the restrictions would no longer be necessary after March 2011. The judge also considered video surveillance of the employee and based on these videos the judge concluded that the worker was no longer experiencing a work-related disability as of September 2011.

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The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system has many different procedural rules, including rules about what a judge must consider in determining whether to award benefits and how issues within a claim must be resolved. If a judge fails to follow these rules, an appeal may be proper. At Pulgini & Norton, we have diligently served injured workers in Boston workers’ compensation cases and we are ready to help you assert your right to benefits.

In a recent claim dispute, the injured worker was employed as a machinist for over 30 years. He experienced a series of three separate work injuries. The first was a slip on a wet floor in 010 that resulted in a head, back, and neck injury. He continued working with some restrictions following physical therapy while declining surgery to treat his symptoms. In 2013, he suffered an injury to his elbow, arm, and neck while tightening fixtures. he received a course of treatment for this injury including cortisone injections and radio frequency denervation. He did not miss work as a result of this injury but worked with some restrictions.

The next year, the employee accepted a retirement buyout package from the employer. On the day of his last day of work, he reported experiencing back pain and checked himself into a medical clinic.

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Medical marijuana is legal in many states, including Massachusetts. This has created novel legal issues for the workers’ compensation system when it comes to whether an insurer is required to compensate an employee who obtains medical marijuana in order to treat his or her work-related injuries. As dedicated Boston work injury attorneys, we are well-versed in these issues and ready to help you fight for the fair outcome that you deserve after suffering an on-the-job accident.

In a recent case, a Massachusetts appellate court addressed the relationship between the Controlled Substances Act and the Massachusetts Act for the Humanitarian Use of Marijuana. Based on the facts presented in the underlying claim, the court held that when an injured worker requests that an administrative judge require an insurer to reimburse the employee for medical marijuana treatments, the Controlled Substance Act preempts the state law and prohibits the administrative law judge from issuing such an order.

In the underlying claim, the permanently and totally disabled employee sought medical expenses reimbursement for the cost of medical marijuana. The presiding administrative judge denied the claim and the employee appealed. Both parties agreed that the employee experienced a positive benefit from the use of medical marijuana to treat his chronic knee pain.

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There are certain types of evidence that a judge can consider when deciding whether to award workers’ compensation benefits and knowing whether the evidence presented to the judge is appropriate is a key aspect of any claim. A seasoned attorney can make objections to improper evidence or help the judge determine whether a piece of evidence should be considered in the final decision regarding benefit payments. As dedicated Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers, we are well-versed in the rules that apply to workers’ compensation proceedings and can help you ensure that your claim proceeds in an appropriate and timely fashion.

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court discussed a claim in which the employer sought to discontinue paying benefits to an injured worker. The employee was a fuel truck driver when he fell backward out of his truck at the end of his shift, striking his elbow, head, and shoulder, He did not return to work following the accident. His employer’s insurer paid him temporary total incapacity benefits and eventually filed a complaint to modify or discontinue the weekly benefit payments. The insurer provided a copy of a report from the independent medical examiner in the matter in support of its complaint.

Additional proceedings took place and the presiding judge issued an opinion, finding that the employee was temporarily totally disabled as a result of the accident and ordered the insurer to pay benefits.

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Although any work-related injury can be devastating and painful, permanent and total injuries are the most severe because they have a lasting impact on the worker’s life and future job prospects. Employers and insurance carriers often fight claims involving permanent and total disabilities because of the amount of benefits and medical expenses reimbursement that they may end up having to pay. As seasoned Boston work injury lawyers, we can assist you with ensuring that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve for your current and future accident-related needs.

In a recent claim, the worker experienced a back injury while he was lifting a garage door at work in February 2017. He missed six months of work and eventually returned to light duty for the same employer for roughly nine hours each week. A few months later, he was terminated and applied for unemployment.

He filed a claim for compensation for the back injury which resulted in him receiving temporary total incapacity benefits from the date of the injury to August 2007 and partial incapacity benefits from August 2007 ongoing. He filed a claim for permanent and total incapacity benefits in April 2011. The judge ordered the payment of these benefits.

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Medical expert testimony and evidence play a significant role in a workers’ compensation claim. As seasoned Boston work injury lawyers, we have assisted many injured workers throughout the area with understanding the claims process and ensuring that they receive the best outcome possible. Although you may be tempted to navigate the claims process on your own, having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side can help you ensure that you present the right medical evidence and that your injury is assessed correctly.

In a recent claim, the employee appealed from a decision awarding benefits to compensate him for his medical expenses and total incapacity benefits. He suffered a work-related back injury in 2003 and his employer provided weekly incapacity benefits for several months. The employer’s insurer later denied the worker’s application for ongoing benefits and a workers’ compensation judge affirmed the denial.

The worker filed an appeal and underwent an independent medical examination prior to the hearing. The report prepared as a result of the examination concluded that the worker endured a back strain related to his occupation and that the injury would have resulted in a disability lasting five to eight weeks. The doctor also noted that because the worker underwent what he characterized as excessive treatment and did not work for four years, the employee should start with sedentary work as he re-entered the workforce. The doctor also noted that the employee’s medical records were unremarkable.

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