Massachusetts Psychiatric Hospital Worker Secures Award of Permanent and Total Incapacity Benefits

Legal News GavelIn any workers’ compensation case, your medical history has the potential to be an issue. If you have pre-existing conditions that already afflicted you prior to your workplace accident, your employer may try to argue that your disability is a result of those pre-existing conditions, rather than your workplace accident. The key is to have a workers’ compensation case that is strong enough to overcome these arguments. An experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney can help by providing zealous representation as you seek to defeat these and other arguments against your claim for benefits.

Employees can face a wide array of risks on the job. For workers in a psychiatric care facility, that array is especially broad. Daniel was an employee of the Commonwealth’s Department of Mental Health, working in the psychiatric area of the Tewksbury State Hospital, and his case was an example of that. On Aug. 7, 2010, a patient attacked Daniel, punching him in the head and then kicking him in the chest and abdomen until the worker lost consciousness. The attack caused Daniel to have chronic lower back pain along with deep vein thrombosis, pain, and instability in his right leg (which were tied to the lower leg fracture he suffered in the attack).

In Massachusetts, the law has done away with competing medical experts providing opinions on behalf of the employer and the injured worker. Instead, the law now requires that the injured worker undergo an examination by an impartial examiner. The judge in Daniel’s case relied heavily on the independent doctor’s opinions to conclude that Daniel was totally disabled.

Daniel, like most people, had certain pre-existing issues. His included a seizure disorder and degenerative arthritis. Using the information provided by the examiner, the judge concluded that Daniel’s having those pre-existing conditions did not prolong his incapacity and did not extend his need for medical treatment. The judge then awarded Daniel permanent and total disability benefits. This was, in other words, a clear success for Daniel.

Daniel’s case also is helpful for anyone pursuing a claim of total and permanent disability. The appeals court explained what an injured worker is, and is not, required to show in these cases. Many cases involve the use of vocational experts. Once a judge finds that the worker is totally and permanently disabled, they don’t need a vocational expert because explicit vocational expert evidence is unnecessary. “When a judge finds that the employee’s ‘multiple injuries exclude him from employment,’ based on the employee’s credible testimony and adopted medical opinion, the inquiry must end there,” the court explained in its opinion. In other words, once the judge is convinced and rules that you are permanently and totally disabled, you have won regardless of what your employer’s vocational expert said.

Have you been hurt at work? If so, there are several things you should do, but one of the essential ones is to retain knowledgeable Massachusetts counsel who is familiar with all of the aspects of workers’ compensation law. Experienced Plymouth County workers’ compensation lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann has diligently assisted and represented injured workers from across the County, including in Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury, for many years. To find out more about how we can assist you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.

More Blog Posts:

How the Statute of Limitations Can Affect Your Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Massachusetts, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, Jan. 8, 2018

A Boston Paramedic Was Still Entitled to His Workers’ Compensation Benefits Despite Being Suspended from His Job, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, Dec. 18, 2017