Massachusetts Appellate Court Upholds Partial Denial of Claim Involving Multiple Injuries Over a Multi-Year Period

When you suffer a devastating injury at work, it can make your daily life and personal responsibilities difficult to attend to. The workers’ compensation benefits system is designed to provide you with financial support during this situation, but the claims process can take a long time to complete. During that time, you may suffer another injury. It could be related to your existing work injury or it could be something new. Insurance companies may try to use this to their advantage by arguing that the new injury absolves them of liability for the first injury. Our dedicated team of work injury lawyers is prepared to help you fight for the compensation and outcome that you deserve.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal recently decided a case involving a worker who suffered a rotator cuff tear while he was working as a crane operator. The insurance company for his employer accepted liability for the accident and the man underwent a series of medical treatments to address the left shoulder injury. The man was not able to return to his regular occupation involving manual labor, however, and was assigned to light duty and clerical work.

Two years later, the worker fell while he was exiting his company vehicle in his driveway at home. The fall resulted in an injury to his right shoulder. According to his testimony, the man tried to protect his injured left shoulder when he fell by rolling onto the other side. He reported to the emergency room to receive medical treatment. The next day, he returned to work.

In his workers’ compensation claim, the man sought benefits for the injury to his right shoulder. The workers’ compensation administrative law judge assigned to the claim denied the request for benefits for the right shoulder injury finding that it was not related to his original left shoulder injury. The man appealed and an independent medical examiner performed an examination to determine the nature, scope, and cause of his injuries.

In the report, the examiner determined that the man would never return to manual labor due to his left shoulder industry and that he would require surgery to address his right shoulder injury. The judge once again denied the claim for right shoulder-related benefits finding that the injury was not related to his job. The man had left work at the time of the accident and while he brought his work computer home, he testified that he did not intend to work that weekend. Also, due to the clerical, office-based nature of his job duties, the court concluded that he was a fixed-place employee.

If you were hurt at work, you deserve to know your rights when it comes to the workers’ compensation benefits system. Our seasoned team of work injury lawyers has handled a wide variety of work injury claims including claims involving multiple injuries over an extended period of time. We provide a free consultation to help you learn more about how the benefits system works and whether you may be entitled to assistance. Contact us today at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.