There are many phases of a workers’ compensation claim, and the outcome or decision made at each phase can have a substantial impact on your ability to recover benefits. Perhaps one of the most essential steps is determining the date on which the injury took place or accrued and the extent of the injury. The Massachusetts workers’ compensation legal professionals at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith proudly provide workers with the responsive and dedicated legal counsel they need to ensure that they receive the maximum amount of compensation that they need and deserve.
The Massachusetts Court of Appeal recently considered whether a lower court properly determined an injured plumber’s work capacity following an on-the-job injury. In 2004, the worker suffered a neck injury while sleeping resulting in surgery. Roughly four or five years later, the worker began working for a plumbing company. He reported discomfort and tightness in his neck after operating a hammer drill in 2013. The man received medical treatment for this injury and the employer paid temporary total incapacity benefits until April 2014.
The judge assigned to the claim ordered the employer to resume paying benefits on a continuous basis. Both parties appealed and the employee modified his claim for benefits to seek a different category of payments. As part of the appeal, the worker was required to undergo a medical examination with an independent medical examiner. The employer provided additional medical documentation following its conclusion that the orthopedic surgeon who treated the worker did not explain the connection between the man’s 2004 neck injury and the hammer drill injury. After reviewing all evidence, the court concluded that the worker sustained a work-related injury and that it was the major but not necessarily the primary cause of his need for medical assistance. He awarded benefits to the employee and the employer appealed.