Articles Tagged with employer

workers compAchieving 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.

Legal News GavelThe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently issued an important new ruling regarding who qualifies as an employee and who is an independent contractor when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits. While court did not adopt the rule for which the injured worker advocated and the ruling ultimately was an unsuccessful outcome for this particular worker, that does not mean that you should give up and fail to pursue your case for benefits, even if your employer asserts that you are an independent contractor. Each case is different and the factors that Massachusetts uses may yield a more favorable result for your case. Be sure never to assume and, instead, talk to an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

The worker in the case was a woman who delivered papers. She fell on a ramp while working and hurt her right knee and hand. A few months later, she fell on ice and injured her right leg. The injuries eventually caused the worker to undergo two surgeries, one on her knee and one on her hand.

The woman brought a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The employer asserted that the woman was an independent contractor and, as a result, not eligible for benefits. The woman, in opposition to that argument, contended that the definition of an “employee” contained in the independent contractor statute established that she was an employee.

medical researchThere can many traps awaiting the unwary claimant in a workers’ compensation case. Your employer, or its insurer, likely will be armed with knowledgeable attorneys who are well-versed both in the facts of the case and the law. They may recite Latin words and phrases you don’t know, or legal terms with which you are unfamiliar. To make sure you avoid those traps, make certain you are as well-equipped as your opponent by retaining the services of an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

If you have pursued both a civil lawsuit and a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the former has the potential to impact the latter. An example of this was the case of L.Y., who worked as a clinical researcher at a biotechnology company, testing new medications. According to the researcher, his supervisor engaged improper methodology on some tests, which the researcher refused to follow. After the supervisor’s results were discarded, the researcher was allegedly reduced to “meaningless” work, ridiculed by co-workers and eventually fired. All of this, according to L.Y., caused him to suffer a psychological injury.

The researcher did not seek psychiatric care for nearly three years. His doctor diagnosed him as having experienced a “severe, single episode depression.” An impartial physician who examined L.Y. concluded that the researcher had schizoaffective disorder that, while not caused by the negative events at work, had been made worse by them. The independent doctor concluded that L.Y. was totally disabled and that “significantly improved functional capacity is unlikely.”

Legal News GavelSometimes, the key to achieving a truly full success in your workers’ compensation case is not succeeding in the initial hearing but overcoming your employer’s (or your employer’s insurer’s) efforts to terminate your benefits. Getting the full benefit of your workers’ compensation means not just being prepared to win your benefits hearing but also preparing for a hearing regarding the reduction or elimination of your benefits. For all of these processes, it is helpful to rely on experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation counsel who is well-versed in every type of hearing and process.

One worker who fought successfully to maintain his benefits in a recent ruling was Robert, a vending machine route delivery driver for many years. The driver’s job involved a great deal of heavy physical labor, including transporting boxes of coins that could weigh as much as 100 pounds. One day in the spring of 2015, Robert became injured when he fell down five steps at work.

Robert filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The judge in his case concluded that his injuries were very serious, including a fractured and dislocated elbow, along with a wrist injury. Robert was awarded temporary total disability benefits. Less than a year later, the insurer made an effort to reduce or eliminate the benefits. The basis for the insurance company’s effort was an examining physician’s opinion that Robert could perform light duty work with lifting restrictions.

Legal News GavelUnfortunately, workplace accidents are a reality in almost any field of employment. Whether you’re an office worker or a construction worker, you have some risk of getting hurt at work. If that happens, you may have to clear several hurdles in order to get the award of benefits you deserve. One of the key parts of this process can be determining whether or not you remained totally disabled or became partially disabled. To make sure that you have a strong opportunity to get the full amount of benefits you need, make sure your claim has representation from an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

One recent case that involved an issue of total disability versus partial disability was the case of Shirley, who had worked for several years as a personal care assistant. One summer day in 2012, while Shirley was helping her bedridden employer, she felt a sharp knifing pain in her lower back that went down into her leg and foot. The following April, an impartial doctor examined Shirley and determined that she had a lumbar strain and a degenerative condition in her lower back. Her limitations caused by these conditions meant that Shirley was no longer able to do the work of a personal care assistant.

A different doctor examined Shirley in September and October 2013. After the September examination, the doctor concluded that the worker could resume doing light duty work if that type of work was available. In the second appointment, though, the same doctor said that Shirley had no capacity to work until she underwent additional treatment.

Legal News GavelThere is a certain precision that is involved in pursuing a civil lawsuit or a workers’ compensation claim. Achieving a successful result is about more than knowing just the facts; it is about knowing how to use those facts and how to assert them properly in a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Make a wrong assertion, and it could turn a potentially winning case into an unsuccessful one. That is one of many reasons why it is wise to consult a knowledgeable Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney if you’ve been hurt at work.

One of the common ways in which claims for benefits can be derailed is by procedural errors, such as filing too late. The statute of limitations governs how much time you have to file your claim for benefits or else lose your right to those benefits.

Francisca was a worker facing that type of a situation in her case. Francisca was an animal technician at a major hospital. She first experienced pain in her back on the job in 2008. It happened again in 2011, in January 2012, and once more in December 2014. In the last instance, the pain was in her back and leg. Francisca filed two claims for benefits. The first one, which she submitted in May 2015, related to the January 2012 injury. The second one, filed the next month, related to the 2014 incident.

Legal News GavelWinning your Massachusetts workers’ compensation case involves many things. Included among these is presenting a compelling array of evidence that persuades the judge to make multiple findings in your favor. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can provide essential knowledge and skill when it comes to accumulating that evidence and making that winning presentation.

A recent example of a winning case was the one pursued by Theresa, an employee of a non-profit organization in Randolph. Theresa was working for the non-profit when she was injured in an auto accident that caused her to suffer head and neck injuries. She later filed a claim for workers’ compensation, seeking payment for her neck and head medical treatments. After the hearing’s conclusion, the judge ruled in Theresa’s favor. In the written opinion on the case, the judge found that Theresa appeared to be physically uncomfortable during the hearing and frequently switched between sitting and standing.

The employer’s insurer argued that this finding clearly established that the ruling in Theresa’s favor should be reversed. The insurer’s argument was that there was no evidence in the hearing transcript about the worker standing up, sitting down, or looking uncomfortable. The judge also never commented about Theresa’s movements during the hearing. In the absence of these things, the judge was not allowed to make a finding about the woman’s apparent discomfort, according to the insurer.

Legal News GavelIn Massachusetts, the law gives you only a limited period of time to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This fact serves as a reminder that, if you’ve been hurt on the job, it is important to reach out to an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney promptly. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you assess your case and the period of time that you have in which to act.

The recent case of a nurse from Lynn was an example of how the statute of limitations can potentially matter in a workers’ compensation claim. Tammy was a registered nurse at a hospital when she first hurt her neck at work in January 2007. Two months later, she had a discectomy and fusion surgery because her pain was getting worse. She returned to work that summer. In 2012, her neck problem flared again, and she couldn’t turn her neck. She missed three months but then went back to work. Her neck problem flared again in April 2014, and she never returned to work. In July 2015, she underwent another discectomy and fusion surgery.

Three months after the second surgery, she filed a claim for temporary total disability workers’ compensation benefits. In her claim, she listed the date of her injury as April 15, 2014, her last day of work.

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.