Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

construction job siteWhen you file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer’s insurance company will usually be the entity that represents your employer throughout the claims process. In many instances, an insurance company will try to avoid paying benefits to an injured worker, or make decisions that don’t have your best interests in mind. As knowledgeable Boston workers’ compensation lawyers, we can stand by your side and ensure that you receive the fair treatment that you deserve.

In a recent appellate opinion, the insurer challenged a lower court decision awarding total incapacity benefits to an employee. The worker was injured as a union laborer in a series of accidents that spanned a 10-year period. The insurer accepted the worker’s claim for each accident and paid a lump sum settlement for each claim. In 2004, the worker returned to work at full capacity despite warnings from his doctors that doing so would likely result in further injuries. The man stated that he suffered moderate pain but that he took methadone and other medications on a daily basis to manage his symptoms. He also stated that he tried his best to avoid the most stressful and physically challenging jobs.

In 2012, the man reported another back injury and said that it occurred when another employee dropped a piece of construction material on his back. He was not able to return to work due to the pain, despite a note from his physicians clearing him for light duty work. The insurer did not accept liability for the claim, arguing that his claim was barred under a provision of Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation laws stating that an employee cannot recover compensation when the employee was injured as a result of his or her own willful and intentional conduct. The insurer alleged that since the man’s doctors had informed him that returning to work in full capacity would result in injuries, the man was acting willfully and intentionally. The insurer also argued that as a result of the man’s four prior injuries, he had actual knowledge that there was a substantial risk that he would suffer an injury if he returned to work against the doctor’s advice.

fight at workIf you have pre-existing medical conditions, seeking benefits after a work injury can be complicated. Insurance companies will often argue that your injuries are results of a pre-existing condition and try to deny coverage for your work-related accident. As seasoned Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers, we are standing by to help you pursue the outcome that you legally deserve.

A recent appellate decision from a Massachusetts court highlights the importance of considering pre-existing injuries when filing a claim for benefits. The worker was employed in a position that was largely dedicated to administrative tasks. The position required him to occasionally restrain youths who engaged in violent outbursts. The man suffered an injury during an instance in which he was attempting to restrain a violent youth. He suffered a torn rotator cuff in addition to a lower back injury as a result of the incident.

The worker filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in addition to seeking reimbursement for his medical expenses. As part of the claims process, the man underwent an examination by an independent medical examiner. The man also underwent surgery for his back and surgery for his torn rotator cuff.

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Fishing rod closeupThere are many different ways that a work injury can take place, including a car accident while on the job. Many individuals are required to drive as part of their work duties, and they are just as susceptible to being involved in a crash as other individuals on the roadway. Our seasoned team of Boston workers’ compensation lawyers has handled numerous work-related car accident claims, and we are prepared to help you fight for the benefits that you need and deserve.

In a recent decision by the Department of Industrial Accidents in Massachusetts, a man was injured in a car accident while he was working. He was tasked with transporting a large section of equipment on a tractor trailer to another job site. The vehicle that he was driving was struck by another truck, and he required extensive medical care following the crash.

The man applied for workers’ compensation benefits, and he was seen by an impartial medical examiner. The examiner determined that the worker was able to perform some part-time job tasks, subject to limitations. At the worker’s deposition, the insurer offered videotape footage showing the man fishing. After this, the medical examiner determined that the man was able to sit and stand for multiple hours and that he could work for 30 hours each week.

hot tar roofThere are some Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims that are relatively straightforward and that involve injuries that heal over time. In other, more complex situations, an injured worker requires a lifetime of care after suffering an accident on the job. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, we have repeatedly assisted individuals throughout Boston with ensuring that they receive the full amount of compensation and benefits that they deserve after a debilitating and enduring work injury.

In a recent appeal, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents discussed whether an employer was liable for long-term care for a worker who was injured on the job. The employee was hurt when he was working as a custodian. He was working on a hot tar roof at the time the injury occurred, and he reported suffering severe blisters and burns on his left foot. He was treated immediately for these injuries, but he indicated that he still suffered serious medical consequences as a result of the incident. These included ulcers, repeat infections, and other injuries in his left foot.

The man filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The judge approved the claim and deemed the worker entitled to temporary incapacity benefits. He also provided compensation for depression that the man reported suffering as a result of the injury. After these benefits were awarded, the medical professionals treating the man determined that the amputation of his left toe was necessary. Eventually, they amputated his left leg from the knee down. The employee applied for a lump sum settlement of his workers’ compensation claim, which the presiding judge approved. The employer did not contest liability for the amputation or the depression. The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Fund provided reimbursement for 67 percent of the expenses that the employee incurred for his medical treatment.

staircase side viewWhen you are injured at work, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Massachusetts law requires certain employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which means that an insurance company will typically be the entity that handles your claim. This can create some headaches, especially considering that most insurance companies do not have injured workers’ best interests in mind. The seasoned Boston work injury lawyers at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith are prepared to help you fight for your right to compensation following a work injury.

The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents recently decided a case involving an insurer’s refusal to pay benefits to an injured worker. The woman in the case was working as a certified nursing assistant when she fell down a staircase at work. The insurer that her employer was using at the time of the accident accepted liability for the claim and paid total incapacity benefits. The worker then received treatment for her injury, which the insurance company also covered. The woman next indicated that she was suffering pain in her right shoulder and attributed it to the fall.

The woman later discontinued working, and the insurer stopped paying benefits. Some time later, she decided to resume working and accepted a job as a certified nursing assistant, but she was only able to work for a few days because she found the requirements of the job to be too demanding based on her disability. She also took a job providing private in-home care, but she discontinued this position as well.

man grabbing backIf you were hurt at work, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is designed to provide you with compensation for your medical expenses and weekly payments to make up for your lost wages. This system is complex, and there are many steps you must take before you are deemed eligible to receive compensation. One of the biggest issues in a workers’ compensation case is determining whether the injured worker is still capable of performing light duty or alternative job tasks. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers believe in providing personalized and vigorous legal counsel to injured workers.

A recent decision from the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents involved a determination regarding an injured worker’s light duty work capacity. The injured woman in the case was 63 at the time she was hurt as a personal care assistant. According to the worker, she suffered a serious back injury when she was assisting a client with moving in and out of bed. Her testimony said that the pain was a knife-like stabbing sensation that radiated through her back to her leg and foot. She filed a workers’ compensation claim and received temporary incapacity benefits from her employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.

As part of the workers’ compensation claims process, injured workers are required to undergo an impartial medical exam to determine the nature and extent of their injuries. The worker in this case underwent an exam, and the doctor concluded that she suffered a chronic lumbar strain that involved and created other associated conditions, such as a degenerative spine disorder. The worker and her employer both concluded that the woman could no longer engage in her same work duties. Once the woman received a number of medical treatments, the doctor cleared her to perform light duty job functions but later changed this conclusion based on subsequent examinations revealing that she was not able to perform light duty work.

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Empty Subway TunnelThere are countless different types of injuries that can occur while you are on the job. As knowledgeable Boston workers’ compensation lawyers, our attorneys have assisted many Massachusetts residents with understanding their right to compensation following a work-related injury. As a result, we have experience dealing with a wide array of injuries, including permanent and catastrophic injuries.

A recent Massachusetts review board decision discussed whether a man who lost his hearing as a result of working in subway tunnels was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The worker was employed in the subway tunnels for over two decades. The noise levels in subways are extremely high, especially as the trains depart and enter each station. There is a loud screeching noise that is emitted and that echoes throughout the tunnels. Despite this hearing danger, the employer prohibited workers from using any type of ear protection due to the safety risks involved.

In 2004, the man reported that he was suffering hearing loss, and this was an ongoing issue for him for the next 12 years. In 2012, the man retired and applied for employment elsewhere. According to him, he had trouble gaining employment because of his difficulty hearing. Many occupations for which he would be qualified saw his hearing loss as a safety risk. He finally obtained a custodial job with the Postal Service.

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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.

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Empty Exam RoomSome work injuries are minor and heal over time, while others are more severe and can result in serious or even permanent disabilities. If your injury will leave you requiring medical care and other expenses well into the future, it is essential that you receive the full amount of benefits and medical expenses reimbursement that you need and deserve. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, we have assisted many injured workers facing serious disabilities, and we are prepared to help you.

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation review board recently considered an issue involving a serious injury. The injured worker was seriously injured while working in a psychiatric ward. A patient attacked the worker, striking and kicking his abdomen. The attack was so severe that the worker became unconscious as a result. Unsurprisingly, the injured man required extensive medical attention for his several injuries. Medical records show that he sustained a leg fracture, chronic leg pain and lumbar pain, and deep vein thrombosis.

The injured worker initiated a workers’ compensation claim with his employer’s insurance carrier, requesting many different benefit payments, including temporary total incapacity payments and benefits to compensate him for his extensive medical bills. At issue with this initial request was the fact that the employee suffered from a pre-existing seizure disorder. The administrative law judge (ALJ) overseeing the claim awarded these benefits. The ALJ concluded that the new injuries were separate and distinct from the employee’s pre-existing condition.

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Hand with PillsThere are many types of work-related injuries that are eligible for compensation under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. Some of the most obvious examples include sudden injuries like falls, broken bones, and head injuries. You can also receive compensation for injuries that develop over time as a result of repetitive tasks and motions, such as typing, stacking boxes, or cashiering. For many repetitive injuries, the pain and disabilities that result are permanent and leave the victim with a lifetime of injuries. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, our seasoned team of Boston workers’ compensation lawyers has handled a wide variety of work injury claims, and we are standing by to help you capture the maximum amount of benefit payments and reimbursement that you deserve.

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court considered a workers’ compensation claim in which the injured employee suffered a repetitive elbow injury resulting in permanent pain. The injured worker reported a left elbow injury resulting from repetitive tasks that she performed at work. The injury required a number of surgeries that were ultimately unsuccessful at improving her condition. As a result of the work injury, the employee experienced ongoing nerve pain. She also developed a condition called complex regional pain syndrome. In 1999, the employee accepted a lump sum settlement, including a provision that required her employer’s insurance carrier to provide compensation for any necessary and reasonable medical expenses associated with her injury.

In the following year, the employee was prescribed a series of pain medications to help control her pain condition, including Fentanyl and Vicodin. She also earned a new educational degree and started a new job. In 2009, she was involved in an accident outside work and developed additional pain-related conditions, resulting in a prescription for Lyrica. She then sought reimbursement of these medical expenses with the original insurer and filed a claim against her second employer’s insurance company, seeking benefit payments. The administrative law judge assigned to her claim denied her request for benefits. While appealing the decision, she dropped her claim with the new employer’s insurance carrier.