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Massachusetts Appellate Court Upholds Award of Benefits to Nurse who Suffered Multiple On-the-Job Injuries

If you work in the healthcare industry, you face dangers on the job every single day. Whether you are a nurse, doctor, or first responder, your job often requires you to perform extremely physical tasks. The stress and repetitive nature of this can really impact your body and well-being. At Mass Injury Group, our Boston work injury lawyers assist individuals who have been hurt at work with understanding their rights to compensation. You do not have to navigate the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system alone. Let us help you during this stressful time.

Recently, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case where a nurse who was injured multiple times throughout her career filed a claim for benefits. One of these injuries included an injury to her back that she suffered when she was trying to assist a 350-pound patient with getting into a vehicle. She also had two auto accidents during her career and was treated for both of them. In 2011, she suffered her final work-related injury. She was helping a 400-pound patient when the injury happened. Although she returned to work the next day, she eventually decided to take a leave of absence because the pain was so severe.

The nurse filed a claim seeking workers’ compensation benefits. The insurer denied the claim on the basis that there was no causal relationship between her injuries and her job, her disability, and more. The judge assigned to her claim awarded her temporary benefits and payments to cover her medical expenses. The parties attended another hearing, and the court awarded the nurse another series of benefit payments. The insurance company for her employer appealed this award and asserted the same defenses to her claim.

The appellate court reviewed the claim and first stated that the nurse was only asking for benefits from the date of her final accident in 2011 onward. The appellate court reviewed the evidence in the record and was able to find enough information to support the lower court’s finding that she was totally disabled due to assisting the 400-pound patient. The appellate court also updated the average weekly wage that the lower court had assigned to the plaintiff, changing it to roughly $592. The court concluded by saying that the nurse could file an additional claim for weekly benefits if she desired.

Regarding the insurance company’s defenses, the appellate court concluded that there was enough evidence to show that her employment duties were the primary cause of the injuries that she suffered. When an insurer raises issues about the cause of the injuries and the worker has pre-existing work-related injuries, the worker is not required to meet a higher burden of proof to show that her new injuries are the major cause of her disabilities. Here, the nurse suffered many other injuries that were directly related to her occupation as a nurse.

If you were injured on the job, contact Mass Injury Group today to set up a consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer. We can help you review your potential claim and determine whether pursuing it is right for you. There are many important issues to discuss if you move forward with your claim to ensure that you put your strongest case forward. To schedule your consultation, call us now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online.

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