A complicated aspect of any Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim is determining the nature and extent of the injury, especially when the claimant has prior injuries or health conditions. At Pulgini & Norton, we have counseled numerous Massachusetts residents regarding their rights following a work-related injury. As a recent appellate opinion indicates, if your employer’s insurance carrier decides to appeal any decision awarding you benefits, having a seasoned attorney on your side can make all of the difference.
The background of the case is as follows. The claimant was a plumber who suffered injuries to his neck during sleep. As a result of these injuries, the plumber underwent a procedure on his neck in 2004 and eventually returned to work. About four years later, the plumber, who had been self-employed, took a job working for a plumbing company. In 2013, the employee reported pain and stiffness in his neck after he operated a hammer drill for approximately one hour. The plaintiff sought medical treatment from a neurosurgeon.
The employer, which was self-insured, paid the employee benefit payments for a period of time. Then, the employee filed a claim seeking incapacity benefits on a continuing basis. The judge reviewing the application ordered the employer to pay the employee benefits for the time period from when he was injured and continuing. After the award, the employee underwent an impartial medical examination. The doctor determined that the neurosurgeon who originally treated the employee did not give enough weight to his preexisting neck injury and cervical spinal procedure. The employer moved to admit the additional medical testimony, which the judge allowed.