Massachusetts Appellate Court Remands Award of Benefits and Medical Expenses Based on Lower Court’s Unclear Ruling

When you are hurt on the job, it’s not always guaranteed that you will heal completely. In some cases, a worker faces a lifetime of pain and disability that prevents him or her from returning to the same job or engaging in the same hobbies. If you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, it is critical to ensure that you are given an award for any medical expenses that you incurred that were reasonable, necessary, and related to your work injury. Our team of diligent and experienced Boston workers’ compensation lawyers wants to help you fight for the outcome that you deserve.

A recent benefits claim highlights a situation involving a worker who suffered injuries as a delivery driver. She stepped out of her delivery truck and was allegedly injured when she stepped into a pothole on the ground below the door. The employer’s insurance carrier provided her with temporary incapacity benefits. She filed a claim for benefits, but the employer challenged the extent of her injuries and also contested her earning capacity.

An independent medical examiner submitted a report after examining the employee and the judge adopted the report’s findings. The report said that the worker was experiencing a number of injuries including complex regional pain syndrome. The doctor also concluded that the injuries were the direct cause of the work injury involving the pothole. The judge made note of the worker’s testimony at a hearing in which she said that she would wake up frequently at night due to the pain and that her medications including Tramadol and Valium did not alleviate her symptoms in a meaningful way.

The judge ordered the employer to pay reasonable and necessary medical expenses and determined that she was capable of performing light duty job assignments. The insurer appealed and on review, the appellate court decided that the lower court made a mistake by letting the parties offer additional medical evidence even though the judge determined that the independent medical examiner’s report was accurate.

The appellate court also concluded that some of the lower court’s findings were not clear, especially regarding the medical issues involved in the case were complex or whether the independent medical examination was sufficient. Finally, the appellate court determined that the judge did not provide enough specificity in awarding reasonable and necessary medical expenses to the worker. The judge did not indicate which injuries or body parts were subject to the award of medical expenses. Based on these conclusions, the appellate court reversed the order and remanded the case so that the judge could provide a more detailed and clear explanation.

If you were injured on the job, we know just how stressful and disruptive this situation can be for you and your family. We have handled a wide variety of work injury cases including sudden and catastrophic injuries as well as ongoing injuries that stem from repetitive movements. If you believe that you deserve workers’ compensation benefits, contact us today at 617-263-0060 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.