Massachusetts Reviewing Board Upholds Award of Benefits to Worker who Suffered Neck Injury Over Challenge from Insurer that the Claim was Time-Barred

Melting Wall ClockMany people are aware that a personal injury claim is subject to a statute of limitations, which is a law requiring an injured party to file a claim within a certain period or waive his or her right to recovery. There are also statutes that apply to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers have guided numerous injured people through the claims process and assisted them with determining whether they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

A recent claim appeal highlights why it is so critical to pay attention to the statute of limitations for your claim. The injured employee worked as a nurse when she suffered an injury to her neck in 2010. For the following year, the employee attempted to continue working, but the pain was too much. She underwent a surgical procedure to address the issue. This rendered her unable to work for over four months. The injured employee received a few short-term payments of disability benefits, but she did not apply for workers’ compensation benefits with her employer’s insurance carrier.

The woman returned to work for a period of time in 2014, but her neck pain ultimately led her to quit working. This also led to another surgical procedure involving a fusion and discectomy in 2015. Once the procedure was complete, she did not return to work. That same year, she applied for workers’ compensation benefits from the final date of her employment. Initially, the administrative law judge assigned to her claim awarded her temporary total incapacity benefits. The insurance carrier for the employer filed an appeal, and multiple hearings ensued.

During these hearings, the insurance carrier alleged that the award of benefits was improper because the woman waited too long to file her claim for benefits, and as a result, the statute of limitations had lapsed. The insurer argued that she was first injured during 2007 and that she did not file her claim for the benefits until 2015. To support this assertion, the insurer also pinpointed testimony from the woman indicating that she felt her neck injury was a direct result of her job. Since the insurer did not bring up this statute of limitations argument until the appeals process, however, the reviewing court dismissed the appeal, and the award of benefits was deemed appropriate.

Becoming injured at work is a devastating and life-altering situation for the victim and his or her loved ones and dependents. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we help clients throughout Boston with understanding their right to workers’ compensation benefits following a work injury. If you have questions or concerns and want to learn more about how we may be able to assist you, call us now at 617-623-0060 or contact us online. Act now, since time may be running out on your claim.

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