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Massachusetts Appellate Court Issues Opinion in Claim Dispute Involving Late Notice of Injury to the Employer

If you were hurt at work, chances are you have several questions about where to start and how to secure the benefit payments that you are owed. Mass Injury Group has assisted with numerous Boston workers’ compensation claims, helping people navigate the complex workers’ compensation system and dealing with insurance companies. We understand how important this situation is to you, which is why we will work diligently to ensure that your claim is being handled properly and complying with important deadlines.

A Massachusetts appellate court issued an opinion recently involving a claim where the employee failed to provide timely notice of her on-the-job injury to her employer. In 2009, the worker reported experiencing pain in her upper extremities and back around 2009. She described the pain as being due to repetitive motions that she was required to perform at work. She eventually returned to work after being off work for a short period of time even though her medical doctor told her that she should not do so. A few years later, the woman quit her job as a result of the increasing pain she was experiencing. After she quit, she suffered an injury to her back during yard work at her residence. The woman applied for and received a number of benefits including short-term and long-term disability payments as well as social security benefits.

The woman filed a claim seeking workers’ compensation benefits in 2015 and listed a repetitive back injury as the basis of her claim. During the adjudication of her claim, one of the judges adopted the opinion of a medical examiner that her injury was due to degenerative disc disease and that it was causally related to her job duties. The doctor also determined that the woman was permanently and totally disabled as a result of the injury.

The insurer of the woman’s employer contested the claim on the basis that the woman did not provide timely notice of her injury as required by Section 41 of the Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. These laws state that an injured employee must provide notice to an employer regarding a potential work-related injury “as soon as practicable after the happening thereof.” It also states that claims must be filed within four years after the data that the worker first learned about or should have learned about the injury.

The lower court agreed with the insurer and dismissed the claim. The woman appealed and the appellate court issued an opinion stating that the lower court did not truly consider whether the injured woman provided notice to her employer “as soon as practicable.” This assessment was not performed based on its review of the record. It also concluded that the lack of notice may be excused where the insurer or the employer was aware of a repetitive injury or where it can be shown that the insurer did not suffer prejudice as a result of the late notice.

If you were hurt at work, Mass Injury Group is prepared to help you fight your workers’ compensation claim for the outcome that you deserve. We know how complicated and stressful this situation can be even if your injury is temporary and minor. We pride ourselves on providing compassionate, seasoned legal advice while ensuring that you are treated fairly at every stage of the process. Contact us today at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.

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