Massachusetts Appellate Court Issues Ruling in Injured Lineman Worker Case

Workers often experience several injuries throughout their careers. The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system provides benefits and medical expense payments to injured workers for injuries that happen as a result of their job duties. These benefits are available for each injury that happens in the course and scope of employment. In some situations, however, prior injuries can create complicated situations in benefits claims involving new injuries. For this reason, it is essential to consult with an experienced Boston work injury lawyer to ensure that you are being treated fairly and that you are receiving the compensation that you deserve.

In a recent workers’ compensation claim, the employee worked as a lineman starting in 1996. In 2012, he reportedly suffered injuries when a four-foot retaining wall on which he was standing collapsed. He kept working after the accident until he had shoulder surgery. After that, he returned to light-duty work in January 2013 until he left work in April of that same year claiming that he was unable to work without extreme pain even in a light-duty capacity. The worker sought benefits for this injury as well and sought compensation for physical therapy to address neck pain.

The worker also received benefits for his injuries. As part of the claims process, he underwent an independent medical examination. Based on the medical evidence and testimony from the employee submitted, the judge rejected the employee’s claim that he suffered a second work-related injury in 2013 that allegedly caused him to leave work, denying the employee’s claim for physical therapy to address pain in his neck. Regarding the original accident involving the collapsing retaining wall, the court awarded benefits in the amount of $671.32 based on an earning capacity of $400.00 per week.

The court also concluded that the employee’s skills and training made him eligible to find work in another light-duty capacity industry. This assessment was made according to a vocational expert’s evaluation of the employee, his job history, and his training.

The worker appealed this decision. The appellate court ultimately agreed with the lower court, finding sufficient evidence in the record to support the judge’s conclusion to not award benefits for the second claimed injury. When it comes to determining witness credibility, deference is given to lower courts who have the benefit of seeing, hearing, and speaking with the witness as opposed to the reviewing court which can only read about the interactions in the record. The lower court found that the employee was not a credible witness and that he exaggerated the pain he experienced when performing light-duty work.

If you were hurt at work, you deserve compassionate and experienced legal counsel. Whether this is your first work-related injury or a subsequent situation, the seasoned team of lawyers at Pulgini & Norton are standing by to assist you with determining whether you are entitled to benefits and reimbursements for your medical expenses associated with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and to help you learn more about our team and whether we can help you. To get started, contact us as soon as possible at 781-843-2200 or contact us online.

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