Achieving a successful result in your initial workers’ compensation benefits hearing is very important. If you succeed and your employer appeals, there are limited ways the employer can win. An appeal that essentially asks the Reviewing Board to reweigh the evidence very likely won’t succeed. The workers’ compensation judge is the trier of fact and has the authority to make decisions regarding witnesses’ credibility and the weight that various pieces of evidence should receive. As long as there was a reasonable basis for what the judge decided, your award of benefits will generally be upheld. Before you take on the workers’ compensation process, be sure you have representation from a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.
C.D. was a worker who was able to achieve that successful result in his hearing. C.D. drove, loaded and unloaded a truck for his employer. One day, at the end of his shift, the driver fell out of his truck, hitting his elbows, shoulder and head. C.D. later filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. A hearing was held and, at that hearing, both the driver and a doctor gave credible testimony that the injuries resulting from the accident had left the driver temporarily totally disabled. The judge ruled in favor of the driver and ordered that he receive what’s known as “Section 34” benefits, which means temporary total disability benefits.
The doctor who gave the testimony was an independent medical provider who examined C.D. under the auspices of Section 11A(2) of the workers’ compensation law. In any workers’ compensation case, one of the most important things you’ll have to prove is causation. If you have a history of medical problems prior to your workplace accident, your employer (or employer’s insurer) may try to argue that your injuries are actually tied to those pre-existing conditions, not your workplace accident. Success, then, may be closely tied to having very credible and persuasive testimony that proves this connection with regard to causation.