Massachusetts Appellate Court Affirms Award to Employee who Suffered Disfigurement Injury at Work

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.

The insurer appealed arguing that the judge erred by not considering the independent medical examiner’s report stating that the employee did not walk with a limp. The appellate court rejected this assertion finding that when the insurer withdrew its appeal of the first conference order, there were no more medical issues to be resolved in the case. The only remaining issue involved how much compensation should be awarded, which was not a medical issue requiring testimony or evidence from a medical professional. Also, the appellate court noted that the judge’s description of the employee’s limp was materially similar to the opinion from the private investigator. Finally, the judge’s conclusion that the employee had a slight limp was sufficiently in line with the report’s statement that the employee walked without an obvious limp.

If you were injured at work, you should speak to our dedicated and compassionate team of Boston work injury lawyers as soon as possible. We provide a free consultation to help you learn more about our legal team, the workers’ compensation claims process, and how we can assist you with securing the benefits and payments that you deserve. Call us now at 781-843-2200 or contact us online to set up your appointment now.

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