Mass. Appellate Court Upholds Award of Benefits to Injured Industrial Worker Despite Insurer’s Objections

If you were injured at work, you may be entitled to benefits through Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system. Although it may seem like your claim is straightforward, countless issues can arise. This is especially true where insurance companies are involved, since they don’t always have your best interests in mind. As dedicated Boston work injury lawyers, we are prepared to help you ensure that you receive the just outcome and fair treatment that you deserve.

In a recent appellate opinion, a man suffered injuries while working as a roofer. The tasks associated with his job required climbing up and down ladders and staging and working on pitched roofs. He would carry up to 60 pounds of aluminum sheets to a roof and there were substantial periods of kneeling. He sustained his first knee injury in 1981 while working for a union in New Hampshire. He underwent arthroscopic surgery and received benefits for two months while he was unable to work. Several years later, he experienced swelling in his left knee. In 1998, he reported experiencing a pop in his knee and was unable to finish work. He was prescribed surgery and was out of work for a few months before he returned to full-time. He was also diagnosed with arthritis in his left knee.

During the next several years, he received a series of cortisone shots in his knee that provided little relief. He did not seek additional treatment until three years later when he reported increased pain. He was laid off of work one year later and did not seek additional employment because he was scheduled to have a total left knee replacement surgery. The man filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits stemming from the 1998 injury. There was some dispute regarding whether other insurers should be included in the action.

The man then underwent an impartial medical examination in which the doctor concluded that he suffered a left knee medial meniscal tear following a left knee arthroscopy and that the 1998 injury was a major but not necessarily predominant cause of his symptoms. Relying on this medical opinion, the judge awarded the man total incapacity benefits and permanent and total incapacity benefits as a result of his permanent disability as a union sheet metal worker.

The insurer appealed, arguing that the court should have allowed it to join other insurers who may have been providing coverage to the man throughout his career. The appellate court rejected this argument, noting that the insurer failed to provide medical evidence showing that joinder of the other insurers was appropriate. The appellate court ultimately affirmed the award of benefits.

If you were hurt at work, we are standing by and ready to help you navigate the workers’ compensation claims process. Whether you experienced a minor injury or a sudden and catastrophic injury, you deserve the best legal counsel possible to maximize your recovery. While you are coping with the pain of your injuries and disruption in your life, we will conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that your rights are protected. To set up your free consultation call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us online.

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