Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Award for Carpal Tunnel Syndrom Appealed to Reviewing Board

The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board reviewed a decision of an administrative judge regarding workers’ compensation benefits in the case of Outridge v. MCI Concord. In Outridge, the employee had been working for the employer since 1987 as a correctional officer. In 1993, the employee injured his right hand in a prison riot, and he returned to work after approximately three months of treatment. The employee worked full time until June 2013, when he could no longer perform his duties. The employee filed claims for workers’ compensation, asserting two dates of injury, the 1993 date and October 2012. He sought incapacity and medical benefits for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and CMC joint arthritis.

For the October 2012 injury, the administrative judge ordered the insurer to pay § 13 and § 30 medical expenses for bilateral upper extremity treatment, including all surgery and aftercare, as well as § 34 benefits from the date of surgery up to 60 days thereafter. Initially awarding no benefits for the 1993 injury, the judge permitted the employee to submit additional medical evidence and undergo an independent medical examination pursuant to § 11A. The judge subsequently determined that the medical evidence showed an industrial injury and aggravation of an underlying condition occurred on October 2012, as claimed by the employee. The judge also found that the injuries were causally related to the workplace and resulted in total incapacity for work from June 2013 and continuing. Therefore, the judge ruled that the employee’s medical treatments to date, including the surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome and CDC joint arthroplasty, were reasonable, necessary, and causally related to the employee’s employment.

The employer’s insurer appealed, contending that the judge erred by failing to make any findings or rulings as to the October 2012 date of injury, and that there was no evidence in the record to support that such an injury occurred, among other arguments. The Reviewing Board agreed, noting that the decision contained no findings of fact mentioning the October 2012 injury. However, instead of reversing the decision, the Reviewing Board ordered the judge to make further findings of fact on recommittal. The Reviewing Board also found that the judge did not make any findings of fact regarding the insurer’s raised defenses of proper notice and claim for the October 2012 injury, and the failure to do so required it to vacate the award and recommit the matter for further findings on the insurer’s defense. Ultimately, although the administrative judge’s decision was vacated by the Reviewing Board on appeal, on recommittal, the administrative judge will consider the insurer’s defenses and employee’s benefits award once again.

If you have been injured while working on the job, you may be entitled to recover payments for your medical treatment and lost wages. The injury attorneys at Pulgini & Norton provide trusted legal guidance to clients pursuing workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts. To discuss your claim with one of our experienced attorneys, contact our office at (781) 843-2200 or online and schedule a consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Massachusetts Reviewing Board Affirms Decision Awarding Injured Employee Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, published October 13, 2015

Massachusetts Appeals Court Finds for Worker Claiming Partial Incapacity Benefits, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, published August 12, 2015

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