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Massachusetts Appellate Court Awards Benefits to Nurse who Suffered Multiple Injuries During Career Resulting in Total Disability

There are some occupations that put workers in the face of danger each time they clock in. One of these occupations is nursing, particularly if the job requires the nurse to lift heavy patients and assist them with daily tasks like dressing or bathing. Whether it is a sudden accident or the overall wear and tear that this physical demand puts on their bodies, many nurses find themselves with life-long injuries resulting from their work. Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to assist you in determining whether you are entitled to benefits after suffering an on-the-job injury. Call us now to learn more about your rights.

In a recent opinion, an appellate court in Massachusetts considered whether a nursing assistant who was hurt during her employment was entitled to benefits. On one occasion, she was hurt while lifting a patient who weighed 350-pounds into his vehicle. Additionally, she was involved in two car crashes during her career that required extensive medical treatment. The most recent accident happened in 2011 while she was lifting a patient who weighed several hundred pounds with the assistance of other nurses. As a result of this final injury and the other injuries she had sustained, she ultimately decided she was no longer able to work due to the extreme pain that she felt on a regular basis.

Shortly thereafter, she pursued workers’ compensation benefits, but her employer’s insurance carrier rejected her claim. It argued that there were issues with the connection between the injuries she suffered and her job and that prior injuries were the main cause of her pain. The lower court ruled in favor of the nurse and awarded temporary benefits to the nurse, along with medical expenses reimbursements. During another hearing, the judge once again awarded the nurse more benefit payments, and the insurer appealed on the basis of causation.

The appellate court first made note of the fact that the nurse was only requesting benefits from the 2011 accident onward. The record provided enough evidence to support a finding that the nurse was totally disabled due to the 2011 accident. The appellate court also concluded that the nurse’s average weekly wage was around $592 and informed the nurse that she was eligible for another claim seeking weekly benefits if she wanted to pursue them.

Regarding the insurance company’s objections, the appellate court stated that when the employer’s insurance carrier asserts a lack of causal connection between the employment and the injury as a defense to a claim for benefits, the worker does not then have to provide evidence meeting a higher burden of proof establishing that the latest injury is the major cause of the current injuries. In the case at hand, the nurse had sustained several other injuries, but they all were related to her occupation as a nursing assistant. Based on these conclusions, the appellate court rejected the insurer’s challenges.

If you suffered an injury at work, there is no need for you to suffer the consequences alone. The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide you with the financial support you need and deserve during this painful and traumatic time. At Mass Injury Group, our work injury lawyers will assist you in all aspects of your claim, from filing the paperwork to defending your rights. Call now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.

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