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Massachusetts Court of Appeal Upholds Damages Award for Injured Worker who Suffered Permanent Disfigurement

Any work-related injury can be a painful and stressful event for the victim. When the injury also leaves the victim with unfortunate scars or disfigurement, however, the life-long impact is devastating. At Mass Injury Group, our Boston work injury lawyers are prepared to help you fight for the benefits and medical expense payments that you deserve after you were hurt on the job. The workers’ compensations system in Massachusetts can be incredibly overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Consult with one of our attorneys soon to make sure that you are protecting your rights.

In a recent appellate opinion, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal discussed a case involving an employee who suffered a permanent limp as the result of a work injury. The plaintiff filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and the judge awarded him over $8,000 for the disfigurement that he suffered due to the limp. The parties both appealed this award. The worker was required to undergo a medical examination from an independent medical examiner, who also prepared a report. The report did not mention anything about the limp but instead stated that the employee did not walk with any kind of obvious limp. The insurance company withdrew its appeal and the only issue left was how much compensation the employee was owed.

But at the hearing to determine compensation, the court concluded that the employee was walking with a limp. When the employee provide testimony, the judge also found him credible regarding the limp that he experienced. The judge also found the insurer’s witness credible, a person who conducted surveillance on the employee, who confirmed that the employee had a limp. After this hearing and taking all evidence into consideration, the court concluded that the employee was entitled to nearly $11,000 in damages for the limp. The judge multiplied the state’s average weekly wage allotment by 10 and considered this to be in the middle range of awards for the disfigurement.

The insurance company appealed this award on the basis that the independent medical examiner’s report did not mention a limp and in fact said that the employee was not limping. The appellate court concluded that the insurance company could not raise this issue now because it had originally withdrawn its appeal on this topic. The hearing was only about how much compensation the worker was entitled to receive, which was not a medical issue that required the court to consider evidence from an independent medical examiner. Even so, the appellate court concluded that the judge’s visual observation of the employee’s limp was in line with the report’s statement that the worker walked without an obvious limp.

If you were hurt at work, contact Mass Injury Group as soon as possible to start talking about your workers’ compensation claim. There are many different rules that apply to the claims process. Having an attorney to assist you with the process can take a lot of the stress and guesswork out of making sure that you receive the compensation that you require. To set up a free and confidential consultation, call us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.

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