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Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Workers’ Compensation Claim as Improperly Filed in Massachusetts

Although many people have a job that requires them to report to the same store, office, or location every single day, some employees travel. This can involve traveling across state lines and over great distances. For workers’ compensation claims, this can create issues about which state has jurisdiction over the claim. If you submit a workers’ compensation claim and the receiving commission thinks it is filed in the wrong state it could create serious delays when it comes to receiving benefits and reimbursements for medical expenses. At Mass Injury Group, we proudly assist Massachusetts workers with ensuring that they receive the fair outcome they deserve in a workers’ compensation claim.

A Court of Appeal in Massachusetts recently considered a case that involved a dispute about an employee who drove throughout several states as part of his job as a tractor-trailer driver. He entered into a contract with a Pennsylvania-based employer that involved a complicated hiring process. The worker was required to complete a training process that involved traveling to Roaring Springs, Pennsylvania. He was offered a job working in Pennsylvania at the end of his training and he accepted this offer.

In the year that followed, he drove the same truck to perform deliveries and work duties, most of which happened in Massachusetts. He was working for his employer in Maine making a delivery when he injured his back in October 2012. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which the presiding judge dismissed on the basis that the court in Massachusetts did not have jurisdiction over the claim. According to the judge, the injury occurred in Maine and the corresponding claim needed to be filed in Maine.

The employee appealed this decision and won. The reviewing court concluded that enough facts were present in the record to support a finding that the primary location of his employment was Massachusetts. The insurer disputed this finding claiming that the reviewing court did not use the right test to determine whether the Massachusetts court had jurisdiction over his benefits claim.

The appellate court reviewed the dispute for a second time and concluded that the lower court made a reversible error. The appellate court identified a number of facts supporting its finding that Massachusetts did not have jurisdiction over the claim. First, the contract for the worker’s employment originated outside of the state. Second, no facts were present showing that there was a change in the employment relationship to implicate Massachusetts. The language and terms of the contract remained the same throughout his employment.

At Mass Injury Group, we understand how important your job is to you as well as your physical well-being. Trying to determine whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and how you should go about claiming benefits can be incredibly overwhelming. Our seasoned team of Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers is prepared to evaluate your potential claim and guide you through the process. Call us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to set up your confidential and free consultation. Don’t wait, time may be running out on your eligibility for benefits.

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