Massachusetts Appellate Court Affirms Award of Benefits to Truck Driver who Suffered a Total Injury on the Job

There is no such thing as an easy work-related injury, but some accidents leave the worker suffering from a lifetime of pain and disability. If you were hurt on the job, our diligent Boston workers’ compensation staff can assist you with ensuring that you receive the fair outcome that you deserve. While you are coping with the pain and stress that the injury has caused, we will assert your rights to the fullest extent possible while ensuring that you receive compassionate and responsive legal counsel.

Workers’ compensation claims can become incredibly complicated as there are many procedural rules and processes that must be followed, as a recent appellate case highlights. The case involved a truck driver who reportedly suffered serious injuries to multiple parts of his body when he fell out of his truck. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which he received. Eventually, the insurer filed a claim to modify or discontinue the weekly benefit payments. In support of its request, it offered a report from an independent medical examiner.

The judge ultimately concluded that the employee suffered a temporary total disability due to the accident and awarded the employee benefits. The judge relied on the report in reaching this decision. The insurer appealed, first alleging that the report was not a proper basis for awarding benefits. According to the insurer, the doctor relied on nothing more than a temporal proximity theory to conclude that the worker suffered an on-the-job injury. The appellate court concluded that there was enough additional evidence to show that the truck driver was experiencing serious injuries and symptoms as a result of the fall, including post-traumatic head injuries, post-concussion syndrome, and more.

The insurer also argued that the court improperly relied on the truck driver’s testimony about how he was feeling and whether he was injured, stating that the judge did not have enough additional evidence in the record to support the award of benefits. The appellate court reviewed the evidence in the record and determined that the judge made appropriate findings that supported the employee’s testimony about his limitations. The lower court also concluded that the truck driver was a credible witness who testified in good faith about his inability to go back to work.

Finally, the insurer alleged that it was reversible error for the lower court to omit any mention of testimony from a vocational expert. The appellate court also rejected this allegation, noting that the lower court listed it as an exhibit that was considered in reaching the decision to award benefits. Although a judge must include a list of all evidence that was considered, he or she is not required to discuss every piece of evidence.

If you were hurt at work as a result of your job duties or some type of accident, you may be entitled to benefits to make up for your lost wages as well as medical expense reimbursement payments. The Law Office of Michael O. Smith’s passionate team of legal professionals has assisted numerous workers throughout Massachusetts with exploring their potential right to benefits. We provide a free consultation to discuss your situation and whether we can help you. Call us now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.