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Massachusetts Court of Appeal Upholds Award of Temporary Total Incapacity Benefits to Injured Delivery Truck Driver

If you are hurt on the job, Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide you with financial support for your missed wages and medical bills. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation insurance companies often try to avoid paying benefits to injured workers based on a variety of defenses. In some situations, for example, the insurance company for your employer may try to avoid paying for certain expenses on the basis that the injury was not part of your work-related accident. The dedicated Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at Mass Injury Group are standing by to help you protect your rights.

A recent claim dispute highlights how insurers sometimes try to avoid paying benefits. The employee was hurt when he fell backward out of his delivery truck. he suffered injuries to his head, shoulder, and elbow that prevented him from returning to work. He filed a claim and received temporary incapacity benefits for his injury. The insurance company filed a claim to modify or discontinue the benefits that the employee was receiving. In support of this request, it included a copy of a report from an independent medical examiner who had examined the employee. The judge, however, concluded that the employee was suffering a temporary total disability as a result of the fall and awarded benefits.

The workers’ compensation insurance carrier appealed this decision. It first argued that the judge should not have relied on aspects of the report that made a temporal connection between the fall and the injury that the employee suffered. The appellate court did not agree, however, and instead concluded that there was enough information to show that the employee had suffered post-traumatic head pain, causalgia, post-concussion syndrome, and other injuries as a direct result of falling out of his delivery truck. The employee had also offered testimony at trial about his issues with memory loss, inability to focus, vertigo, and more. This testimony matched up with what the doctor wrote in the report.

The insurer also alleged that the lower court should not have relied on the employee’s testimony about his injuries to conclude that he was totally disabled. The appellate court rejected this, noting that the judge based its conclusion on independent findings and that the employee was a credible witness.

Finally, the appellate court rejected the insurer’s argument that the lower court should have mentioned testimony from a vocational expert. The evidence was included in the list of evidence that the court considered in making its ruling. The judge is not required to make a statement or reference to every item of evidence offered in the matter. If the judge had failed to include the evidence in the list, then it may have provided a valid basis for reversing the lower court’s award of benefits.

The seasoned Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at Mass Injury Group know firsthand just how stressful and painful a work injury can be. Our team will guide you through the process and make sure that your rights are defended when going up against a major insurance company. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our office today at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to learn more.

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