Massachusetts Appellate Court Considers Case Involving Multiple Claims and Reverses Decision Based on Judge’s Failure to Consider All Evidence

It’s common for a work injury case to involve multiple injuries. This can make things complicated when it comes to determining the amount of benefits and medical reimbursements that you are entitled to receive under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. There are times where it makes more sense to file multiple claims for different injuries or in situations where a pre-existing injury was exacerbated as a result of a work-related injury. Attorney Michael O. Smith has provided zealous and diligent legal counsel to injured workers throughout the region and we are ready to ensure that you are treated fairly in your claim.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal recently considered a case where the worker had filed six different claims seeking benefit payments. The case had a very complex and lengthy procedural history. In the relevant case, the worker appealed from a decision that provided her with partial incapacity benefits for a left arm injury that happened while she was at work in 2007. The judge also awarded her medical expenses reimbursement payments for any treatment she received regarding the injury. During the same injury, the employee reported also suffering neck and upper back injuries. The judge was unclear in the decision about whether or not all of the evidence was considered in awarding reimbursement payments for these additional injuries.

The worker appealed and on review the appellate court agreed with her assertion that the judge made inconsistent findings. According to a review of the record, the appellate court determined that the judge did not take into consideration the medical opinions and conclusions from one of the expert medical witnesses who testified at the hearing. These opinions were not incorporated in the judge’s final decision.

The appellate court also found that the judge was inconsistent when discussing whether the employee was partially incapacitated as a result of the 2007 injury. The judge failed to state whether the benefits that were awarded to the employee were the sum total of the award or whether she was entitled to receive other benefit payments. The judge failed to consider testimony from an expert witness offered at the hearing within the greater context of the workers’ claims for benefits. At first, the judge appeared to decide that the employee had established that she was partially disabled as a result of the 2007 injury, but then the judge stated that the worker had failed to establish the disability and had not provided proof of disability past 2010.

Workers’ compensation claims can be incredibly confusing and overwhelming. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, we offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about your rights and whether you are being treated fairly. Our lead attorney has two decades of experience helping injured workers to claim the benefits and medical expenses reimbursement payments that they deserve. We assist with all aspects of the claims process including gathering evidence and negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf. To arrange your consultation, please call us as soon as possible at 617-263-0060 or contact us online.