Massachusetts Appellate Court Discusses Work Injury Claim Involving Traveling Employee

There are quite a few employees who work across state lines especially in the transportation industry. This can create issues when it comes to knowing which state’s workers’ compensation benefits system will provide you with support in the unfortunate event that you suffer an injury on the job. At Pulgini & Norton, we are standing by and ready to assist you with determining whether you are entitled to benefits and the best method for asserting any rights that are available to you.

In a recent case, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal discussed some of the issues that can arise when an employee travels across state lines for work. If you are one of these employees, then it is important for you to be aware of how workers’ compensation rules may apply to you should you suffer an injury on the job.

The worker was a tractor-trailer driver who entered into a contract with his employer in Pennsylvania. The hiring process that the driver had to complete was complex and thorough and a job offer was not extended until the applicant completed an orientation program that required the applicant to travel to Roaring Springs, Pennsylvania. At the end of his training program, the worker was extended an offer in Pennsylvania, which he accepted.

During the next year, the employee used the same truck to perform his deliveries and work duties which primarily occurred in Massachusetts. The employee was working in the course and scope of his employment in Maine on a delivery during October 2012 when he suffered an injury to his back. The employee filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and the judge dismissed the claim finding that there was no jurisdiction in Massachusetts to award benefits because the injury occurred in Maine.

The employee won this appeal. The court found that there were enough facts to show that Massachusetts was the primary location of his employment. The insurer appealed, arguing that the court applied an improper test to determine whether the Massachusetts court had jurisdiction over the employee’s claim.

On review for a second time, the appellate court concluded that the lower court made a reversible error in finding enough facts to support jurisdiction in Massachusetts. The appellate court first noted that the employment contract was created outside of Massachusetts. Next, it noted that nothing happened to change the relationship of the employment to the state where it was created. Without any change in the employment after the original contract showing that the employee was now under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, the claim for benefits could not proceed within the state.

At Pulgini & Norton, we know that your job is important to you as well as your health. We have handled workers’ compensation claims on behalf of many injured employees involving a broad range of complex issues. Our team provides a free consultation to answer your questions and to discuss your situation. If you believe that you deserve benefits, contact us as soon as possible at 781-843-2200 or contact us online to get started.

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