Massachusetts Appellate Court Discusses Applicability of Statute of Limitations in Work-Related Neck Injury Case

Just like civil claims for compensation, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system has statutes of limitations that dictate when an injured worker must file a claim in order to receive benefits. It can be difficult to know when your time may run out, which is why speaking with a Boston work injury lawyer about your situation is so critical. At Pulgini & Norton, we provide personalized and compassionate legal counsel to individuals throughout Massachusetts and are standing by to assist you with exploring your legal right to compensation after a work injury.A Massachusetts Court of Appeal recently considered an appeal regarding a challenge to whether the employee had filed her claim within the statute of limitations. The employee was working as a nurse at the time of the dispute. She suffered an injury to her neck in 2007 that required her to seek treatment at the emergency room. Although the employee continued working, her pain worsened, requiring her to undergo spinal surgeries. She was out of work for several months and later returned. Although she did not file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, she received short-term disability benefit payments for the time that she was out of work. Her testimony also indicated that she did not report her work-related injury to her employer in 2007.

During 2009, the employee sought treatment for her neck injury and continued to work. During 2012, she reported being unable to turn her neck after what she described as a heavy assignment. She underwent treatment and was unable to work for three months. During this time, she once again collected short-term disability benefits.

In 2015, the employee filed a claim for benefits and listed her last date of employment as the date of the injury. She described suffering a cumulative injury throughout the preceding years as a result of lifting and moving her patients. The insurer denied the claim on the ground that it was filed on an untimely basis. After several proceedings in the claim, the judge ordered the insurer to pay the employee benefits for her injury.

On appeal, one of the issues the insurer raised was whether the employee filed the claim within the statute of limitations. In affirming the lower court’s award of benefits, the appellate court noted that the insurer did not raise the issue of the statute of limitations until later in the proceedings. Massachusetts law requires that this defense is raised at a specific time in the proceedings. If a party fails to make a timely objection or fails to assert a defense at the appropriate time, that objection or defense is deemed waived.

If you were hurt at work, we understand just how stressed you and your family may feel during this time. At Pulgini & Norton, we treat each client with the personalized and committed legal counsel that they need and deserve. We have handled a wide variety of workers’ compensation claims involving a broad range of injuries. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us online to get started.

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