Massachusetts Appellate Court Remands Workers Compensation Case Based on Judge’s Inconsistent Findings and Other Errors

Workers’ compensation claims often involve multiple injuries, which can make an evaluation of your injuries and the benefits that you deserve to receive complex. In some situations, a worker may file several claims for different injuries or for the worsening of an existing injury. At Pulgini & Norton, we have substantial experience representing injured workers as Boston workers’ compensation lawyers. We are not intimidated by complex claims and will ensure that you receive fair treatment no matter how complicated your situation may be.

In a recent case, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal reviewed a case that involved six claims for benefits with a long and complex history. The worker appealed from a remand decision that awarded her partial incapacity benefits for a left ulnar neuropathy that she suffered at work in 2007 as well as medical expenses reimbursement payments. She also received medical expenses reimbursement payments for cervical and thoracic spinal injuries involved in the same work injury. According to the worker, the judge’s decision included inconsistent findings and that the judge made an incomplete assessment of the evidence offered at the hearing.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the employee, finding that the judge did not rely on the ultimate conclusions and medical opinion from an expert witness at the hearing. The judge did not incorporate the final opinions and ultimate medical conclusions from the expert that were provided during the second day of testimony regarding the worker’s fibromyalgia condition.

The Court of Appeal also agreed that the judge made inconsistent findings regarding whether he determined her to be partially incapacitated as a result of her 2007 injury. Specifically, the judge’s decision did not make it clear whether the award of benefits was the only award that the employee was entitled to receive. Specifically, the judge failed to take the deposition testimony of an expert witness in consideration as a whole with respect to all of the worker’s claims for benefits. If a judge’s decision contains internal inconsistencies, then the decision must be invalidated. It is also important to note that a judge is required to identify each issue in a matter and to decide each issue based on findings of fact supported by evidence in the record.

Here, the judge made conflicting conclusions. The judge first concluded that the employee established a partial disability stemming from the 2007 injury that rendered her disabled for the next three years, and then concluded that the worker did not establish a partial disability related to the 2007 injury and that she had not provided proof of a disability beyond 2010. Based on this inconsistency, and other errors, the appellate court reversed and remanded the case.

If you were hurt at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The seasoned and knowledgeable work injury lawyers at Pulgini & Norton are standing by to provide you with the compassionate and responsive legal counsel that you deserve during this stressful situation. We offer a free consultation to help you understand your legal rights and options. Call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us online to learn more.

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