Massachusetts Court Upholds Award of Permanent and Total Incapacity Benefits Involving Psychiatric Injury Claim for Medical Aide

Most workers know that an on-the-job accident can lead to serious pain and suffering through physical injuries. What fewer workers understand, however, is that there are many situations where the worker will also suffer psychiatric injuries either as a result of the accident or because of the pain and trauma associated with his or her injuries. Our dedicated team of Boston work injury lawyers is prepared to help you ensure that you seek the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve, including benefits and medical expenses associated with a psychiatric injury.

A recent claim involved a worker who claimed psychiatric benefits stemming from an injury she received while working as a developmentally disabled assistant. The worker described the job as very demanding in terms of physical requirements. She sustained two separate injuries in 2011 that involved a fall while moving a patient. She reported injuries to her back, left knee, neck, and shoulder as a result. The next injury further injured her left knee. She reported to the emergency room and received treatment for each injury and eventually filed a claim for benefits.

The judge presiding over the claim determined that the worker had suffered such severe injuries that she was unable to lift anything or to stand for an extended period of time. The judge also concluded that the worker suffered from a low range of mobility as a result of the injuries. Next, the judge identified a psychiatric injury associated with the physical injuries. The worker reported suffering from serious depression and anxiety and had even been hospitalized due to suicidal thoughts. The worker was unable to accept the seriousness of her condition and the severe limitations that it placed on her once-active lifestyle. She no longer felt good about herself and suffered emotional distress as a result of no longer being able to work. She took great pride in her employment before the injury. As a result of her depression, she had difficulty focusing, which made it extremely hard for her to find another position.

Based on these physical and psychiatric injuries, the judge concluded that the worker was permanently and totally disabled as a result of the work-related injuries. The insurer appealed but the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s findings. It noted that the worker’s daily life was drastically different following the injuries compared to her life before the injuries and that her psychiatric disabilities left her with serious limitations. Although the worker testified that she had started to engage in some social activities such as camping or going to the lake, the judge pointed out that at best she could sit and observe other people engaging in specific activities like swimming due to her physical injuries.

If you were hurt at work, it is critical that you explore your right to workers’ compensation benefits. The system is designed to support injured workers who suffered harm while on the job. We know how overwhelming this process can seem, especially if you are having trouble taking care of simple tasks in your daily life due to your injuries. We offer a free consultation to discuss your potential claim and how we can help you seek the benefits that you deserve. Call us now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online.