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Massachusetts Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Insurer’s Attempt to Modify or Discontinue Injured Worker’s Benefits

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.

The insurer appealed on several grounds, including an assertion that the judge improperly relied on testimony from the independent medical examiner to conclude that the workers’ post-concussion syndrome and other symptoms were related to the accident. The insurer alleged specifically that the examiner identified a temporal relationship between the accident and the symptoms and nothing more. The judge dismissed this assertion after reviewing the examiner’s testimony that provided a clear explanation of the worker’s symptoms and how they were associated with the employee’s fall from the truck.

The appellate court ultimately denied the insurer’s appeal on the basis that the judge made competent findings based on appropriate evidence in the record indicating that the employee’s symptoms were the result of the accident and that his daily activities were now limited. The lower court also appropriately gave credence to the worker’s testimony that he felt unable to return to work.

Finally, the court rejected the insurer’s argument that the judge should have discussed the vocational expert report provided in evidence and his reason for not adopting it. The appellate court cited precedent clearly stating that a judge is not required to adopt a vocational expert report and is not required to provide his or her reasons for doing so.

If you were hurt on the job, we are prepared to help you ensure that you receive the maximum amount of benefits that you deserve for your injury. We provide a free consultation so that you can learn more about the workers’ compensation claim process and whether we can help you. There are time limits that apply to seeking work injury benefits, so contact us at 781-843-2200 or online in order to set up your appointment.

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