Massachusetts Appellate Court Upholds Award of Benefits and Medical Expenses Reimbursements to Injured Patrolman over Insurer’s Objections

Work-related injuries at work can lead to devastating injuries, but many workers try to push through their pain so that they can continue working. In some instances, the employer may try to reassign an employee to light-duty work in order to allow them time to recover while still earning wages. Some work injuries also involve a variety of symptoms and ongoing conditions that require extended medical treatment and analysis. This can make it more challenging for an employer to accept liability for your injury and pay you the benefits that you deserve. As dedicated Boston work injury lawyers, we will ensure that you receive the fair outcome that you deserve in your workers’ compensation claim.

In a recent appellate opinion, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered a claim where the injured worker suffered a work-related injury and spent the next few years undergoing different treatments and analyses to diagnose and address his injuries. Throughout this period, the employee reportedly made many attempts to return to work and even worked on light-duty status for a time. The employee suffered a slip and fall injury while working as a patrolman. he broke his fall with his right arm resulting in serious injuries to that extremity. He returned to work but continued to experience pain. He filed a claim for temporary incapacity benefits as well as medical expenses reimbursement, which he received.

Based on the employee’s good faith attempts to return to work, his lack of improvement in response to conservative medical treatment, his need for surgery, his increased pain, and the restrictions he experienced in his daily life, the judge concluded that the employee was totally disabled as a result of the injury and that he could not find work in the open labor market. The insurer appealed.

On review, the insurer argued that it was functionally deprived of an opportunity to submit additional medical evidence and that one of the impartial medical examiner’s reports was incomplete. The appellate court ultimately rejected these assignments of error finding that the insurer did not make proper objections during the lower court proceedings. Specifically, the insurer did not raise the issue of the report’s inadequacy and failed to object to the judge’s characterization of its motion to submit additional evidence as a motion for “gap” medical evidence. If a party fails to raise an objection or flag an issue when it occurs during the lower court proceedings, the party waives its right to explore the issue on appeal following a final decision in the matter.

The appellate court also rejected the insurer’s argument that the judge’s award of medical treatment for “the upper right extremity” was too broad on the basis that the judge’s order clearly referred to injuries that the employer suffered as a result of his work-related injury.

If you suffered an injury at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. At Pulgini & Norton, we have dedicated part of our legal practice to ensuring that injured workers receive the fair treatment and just outcomes that they deserve after being hurt while working for someone else. We provide a free consultation to help you learn more about our firm and whether we can help you. Contact us today at 781-843-2200 or contact us online to get started.

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