Massachusetts Reviewing Board Upholds Denial of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Following Workplace Altercation

Many individuals have pre-existing injuries with which they cope on a daily basis. When it comes to suffering an injury on the job, these existing injuries can lead to complications and delays when it comes to ensuring that you receive the compensation that you deserve. At Pulgini & Norton, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers have assisted many injured employees with asserting their right to benefits vigorously and efficiently.

In a recent workers’ compensation case, the injured worker performed administrative duties for his employer. In some instances, he was also required to restrain youths who were acting aggressively or in a violent manner. During one situation in April 2009, the employee suffered an injury to his shoulder and lower back while he was trying to stop an incident between two teenagers. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Before a hearing on his claim, he underwent an examination by an impartial doctor according to Massachusetts law. The man also had to undergo an operation to address his injury. The doctor who examined him and two surgeons who performed the operation were deposed prior to the hearing. He also underwent an exam performed by another physician at the behest of the employer’s insurance carrier. This doctor prepared a report that was admitted into evidence for the hearing.

During the hearing, the administrative law judge, or ALJ, assigned to the case concluded that the incident involving the teens was the direct cause of the injury to the man’s shoulder. The ALJ also determined, however, that the man was not suffering from any prolonged disabilities associated with the shoulder injury. As far as the back injury, the ALJ concluded that the injury was a result of the incident with the teens, but it was aggravated by other factors. The ALJ agreed with the first doctor’s report that the back strain had improved and was no longer an issue and the conclusion from the insurance company’s doctor that the back injury was not a result of the fight with the teens. As a result of these findings, the ALJ concluded that the man was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

The employee appealed, but the reviewing board upheld the ALJ’s decision. It concluded that the medical evidence upon which the ALJ relied was sound and valid because it resulted from the doctors’ examinations of the injured worker. It also upheld the ALJ’s conclusion that the back injury did not result from the fight with the teens, based on the ALJ’s reliance on medical evidence.

If you were injured at work, it is critical that you understand your rights as quickly as possible. At Pulgini & Norton, we are ready to fight for you and to help you seek the maximum amount of workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve. We know just how confusing the claims process can be, especially while you are dealing with serious injuries and other inconveniences in your life. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 1-800-367-0871 or contact us online.

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