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Massachusetts Appellate Court Affirms Temporary Total Benefits Award for Injured Truck Driver

If you are hurt at work, there are many different defenses and classic arguments that the workers’ compensation insurance company may try to assert against your claim for benefits. This can delay your benefit payments and make an already stressful situation even more intimidating. The insurance company could argue that your injury wasn’t related to your work accident, for example, or that you had a pre-existing injury that is the main cause of your pain and suffering. At Mass Injury Group, our team of Boston workers’ compensation lawyers will help you prepare the strongest case possible to ensure that you receive the benefits and medical expenses reimbursements that you deserve.

An example of how insurers often try to fight claims can be seen in a recent claim dispute. In the claim, the employee fell out of his truck backward and suffered painful injuries to his head, shoulder, and elbows. He was unable to go back to work due to the injury and applied for temporary incapacity benefits. Shortly thereafter, the insurance company filed a claim seeking to modify or discontinue the payments that he was receiving each week. It submitted a copy of a report from an independent medical examiner in support of the request. The judge assigned to the claim determined that the employee was temporarily totally disabled due to the injuries and awarded more benefit payments for the employee instead of granting the insurer’s motion.

The insurer appealed the judge’s award of additional benefits. It argued that the judge did not interpret the report correctly and instead only referred to a temporal relationship between the accident and the injuries. The appellate court was not convinced by this argument and concluded that there was more than enough evidence to support a connection between the accident and the injuries that the employee was experiencing. This included post-concussion syndrome, causalgia, post-traumatic head injury pain, and more. The worker also provided testimony describing some of his symptoms, including memory loss, inability to focus, and dizziness. These symptoms matched the doctor’s diagnosis in the report.

The appellate court also rejected the insurance company’s argument that the judge only relied on the worker’s testimony when determining that he was disabled. The appellate court concluded that the judge made sufficient findings of fact independent of this testimony, including evidence about the daily limitations that the worker experienced after the injury. The judge had also made a finding that the worker was a credible witness regarding his injuries and ongoing symptoms.

Finally, the appellate court did not agree with the insurance company that the judge made a reversible error by not relying on testimony from a vocational expert. The judge included the testimony in the list of evidence considered, which is all the judge was required to do. Based on these findings, the appellate court upheld the award of benefits.

A work injury can cause serious disruption in your life. You probably have questions about whether you should file a claim for benefits and how much compensation you might be able to collect. You can schedule a free consultation with the Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at Mass Injury Group to start getting answers to these questions and help with your claim. Call our office now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to start.

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