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A Massachusetts appellate court recently affirmed a decision by the Department of Industrial Accidents, Reviewing Board that reduced an injured employee’s initial weekly benefits award based on her work-related injury. According to the appellate court, the judge’s second order had not been “in opposition” to the earlier ordcarpal tunnel syndromeer but had addressed and rectified the omitted calculation of the employee’s earning capacity. In other words, while the second order did reduce the weekly workers’ compensation benefits paid by the insurer to the employee, this was only because the first order had erred by not factoring the employee’s earning capacity into the award.

After alleging that she had suffered from bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome since June 2011, the workers’ compensation claimant in this case filed a workers’ compensation claim in July 2011. She claimed total temporary incapacity as a result of her injury.

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In a recent appeal, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board determined that there had been errors in the judge’s decision to award an injured employee workers’ compensation disability and benefits, including payment for a back surgery aoperationnd related costs. The workers’ compensation insurer in this case had argued that the employee had not met his burden of showing causation for his work-related injury and resulting disability.

The judge had adopted facts showing that the employee in this case had a frequency of lifting and carrying as part of his work duties that differed from the facts the employee provided to the impartial medical examiner.   The judge noted the employee had “exaggerated somewhat” regarding the amount of weight he lifted, but nevertheless, the judge adopted the medical opinion based on this exaggeration.

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Addressing the denial and dismissal of an injured employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents Review Board stated the rule that a judge’s decision must be based on all of the evidence received from the parties at a proceeding.ladder Since the judge in this case had not considered all of the medical evidence, which was submitted by the parties but mistakenly not entered into the system by the judge, the Board vacated the judge’s decision.

The workplace incident in this case occurred when an employee, working as a cook and a laborer for a restaurant, slipped and fell off a ladder.  After landing on his back in July 2013, the employee went to the hospital, where he received treatment and was released.  A few months later, he returned to work for two days but was sent home due to his inability to perform his job. He remained out of work at the time of the appeal.

The workers’ compensation insurer for the employer paid the employee’s § 34 benefits and then filed a complaint to modify or discontinue the benefits. The judge essentially allowed for a discontinuance, since he ordered a closed period of  § 34 benefits, from January 2014 to July 2015.  The employee appealed and underwent a medical examination according to § 11A in August 2015.

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In a recent appeal, the issue before the Massachusetts Reviewing Board of Industrial Accidents was whether the judge who ordered an insurer to pay workers’ compensation benefits to an injured, 58-year-old auto mechanic had properly taken into consideration the employee’s ongoauto shoping knee problems, which contributed to his disability.

The Board stated that Massachusetts law holds that only work-related diagnoses are to be considered in a judge’s assessment of disability and benefits. In other words, to determine the extent of a disability caused solely by a work injury, the judge must use a narrow view.  In the case at hand, since section 1(7A) (“personal injury” as defined may include pre-existing conditions) was not at issue, the Board stated the judge was to only consider the effect of the employee’s back injury.

The employee in this case worked as an automotive mechanic for most of his career and performed heavy work, lifting upwards of 100 pounds by himself and 250 with assistance.  While bending and lifting at work, the employee suffered a herniated disc at L5-S1 (lower back). The insurer initially paid section 34 temporary total incapacity benefits.  After surgery and initial improvement, the employee’s symptoms worsened.

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Recently, a case came before the Massachusetts Reviewing Board of Industrial Accidents that addressed a judge’s reliance upon evidence to modify a workers’ compensation order.  The rule is that a modification of workerdanger signs’ compensation benefits must be based on evidence that demonstrates the employee’s medical or vocational status changed. The Board in this case reviewed the timing of medical examinations and the employee’s allegations that the judge had relied on medical opinions and findings that did not support a change in the employee’s benefits award.

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The Massachusetts Reviewing Board recently assessed the issue of causation in a workers’ compensation case, alleging that psychological injuries rendered an employee disabled.  The Board stated that psychological harm resulting from injuries suffered in an industrheadacheial incident requires proof that those injuries were in fact caused by a work-related incident.  In this case, the judge had made inconsistent findings of fact, and relying on these, his finding that the employee’s two surgeries and status as totally disabled were caused by an industrial incident was arbitrary and capricious.

In this case, an employee had been awarded ongoing weekly section 34 benefits, as well as sections 13 and 30 medical benefits.  The employee had a Master’s degree in Science and Administrative Studies, and she worked as vice president of marketing for her employer.  This position required that she maintain attention to detail and strong communication skills.

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Employees who are injured at work may be entitled to compensation. Under Massachusetts law, with limited exceptions, employers in the Cleaking pipeommonwealth with one or more employees must have a valid workers’ compensation policy.  Benefits include medical care and partial wage replacement, and they also protect the employer from potentially harmful lawsuits.

The United States Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) protect the rights of workers throughout the United States.  Recently, a Boston fish and seafood wholesaler was cited by OSHA and issued proposed fines for failing to follow industry and OSHA standards.  One employee was fatally overcome by an ammonia leak in March 2015, which was caused by a burst pipe in the machine shop. OSHA noted that the seafood wholesaler failed to abide by both industry and OSHA safety standards.

OSHA inspected the site and discovered that the machine shop’s deficient design and lack of proper operation and maintenance for the ammonia refrigeration system exposed the fatally injured employee as well as other employees to a “catastrophic” release of ammonia.  The company was cited for 20 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.

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In a recent opinion by the Supreme Judicial Court, the central issue was whether the Massachusetts Insurers Insolvency Fund (Fund) could recover for costs paid on behalf of a high-net-worth insured employer. The court found in favor of the Fund, noting policy considerations as well as the notion that themoney benefits had been paid “on behalf of” the Bank.  In their analysis, the court looked at the relationship created between the Fund and the employer, stating that the insurer acts under a contract to satisfy the legal obligation of the employer.

The facts of this case indicated that a bank employee suffered injuries while lifting coin-filled bags.  She sought and received workers’ compensation benefits, first under section 34 for temporary total incapacity benefits and then section 35 benefits for partial incapacity.  After her entitlement to section 35 benefits was exhausted, she sought permanent and total disability compensation.  The Fund agreed to pay her future medical costs from the injury, as well as a lump sum payment of $85,000.  They then sought to recoup payments from the Bank.

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The Massachusetts Reviewing Board of Industrial Incidents recently addressed whether issues concerning workers’ compensation coverage and a bond to pay benefits could be settled without the involvement of the workers’ compensation claimant or the Department oscalesf Industrial Accidents. The Board held such an agreement was contrary to the statute’s requirements concerning maintaining reinsurance.

The employee in this case suffered from asbestosis, which he contracted while working for Polaroid Camera, beginning in 1959.  In 1989, the asbestosis rendered him unable to work, and he was awarded benefits from that point and continuing. Those benefits were paid by the self-insurer and then exhausted.  After that, section 34A benefits were paid, and in 1998, the employee passed away as a result of his injury. His widow then received section 31 survivor benefits.

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In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, Reviewing Board, affirmed a decision in favor of an injured employee who suffered an ongoing aggravation of an underlying shoulder condition. The issue in this case was whether the judge had transformed the employee’s injury claim into one of a repetitive, ongoing stethoscopeaggravation of a condition, when it should have remained an allegation of a single work injury. Additionally, the insurer claimed the successive insurer rule applied, and they were not liable.

The employee in this case was a 54-year-old man who worked for G.P.C. International/Chartpak, Inc. since 1996 as a paper processor and machine operator. The work was fast-paced and required heavy lifting of 75 to over 100 pounds.

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