The workers’ compensation system has many different rules that govern how and when an injured employee must assert a claim for benefits. This includes a statute of limitations or a time limit on when a claim must be filed. If the injured worker fails to file the claim within the statute of limitations, he or she will be barred from receiving benefits and medical expenses compensation. The seasoned Boston work injury lawyers at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith have assisted countless Massachusetts residents with ensuring that they preserve their right to compensation.
In a recent decision, a Massachusetts Court of Appeal reviewed an injured worker’s challenge to a lower court’s decision to deny her claim for benefits based on the statute of limitations. The woman was employed as a nurse in 2007 when she experienced an injury to her neck. She sought treatment at the emergency room immediately following the injury. She continued to work but reported increased pain and discomfort in her neck. Her treating physicians prescribed a series of neck surgeries to address the condition. The woman did not file a claim for benefits but received a disability payment for the period of time that she was unable to work. She also testified that she did not inform her employer of her injury in 2007.
In 2009, the worker continued to seek treatment for her neck injury while returning to work. In 2012, she told her employer that she could not turn her neck following a work assignment that she characterized as heavy. She received treatment for the injury while being out of work for three months. She also received short-term disability benefits during this period.
In 2015, the woman filed her claim for benefits with the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system, stating her last day of work as the date that the injury occurred. In her claim, she stated that she suffered a cumulative injury resulting from many years of moving and lifting patients. The insurer for her employer denied the claim as not being filed within the statute of limitations. The woman fought the denial and a workers’ compensation judge eventually issued an order requiring the insurance company to pay benefits to the woman for her injury.