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The workers’ compensation process is often a new and unfamiliar experience for most injured workers. Most people hope that they don’t need to obtain benefits and that they will spend the majority of their careers injury-free. When you do suffer injuries on the job, however, it is critical to understand how the process works so that you can maximize the amount of benefits and compensation that you receive. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, our dedicated team of Boston workers’ compensation lawyers is ready to assist you.

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court considered whether a judge properly relied on an independent medical examiner’s report in reaching a conclusion about an injured workers’ claim for benefits. The injured employee had been working for five years when he experienced an injury that impacted his right shoulder and thumb. He eventually returned to light duty work but eventually reported sharp pain in his shoulder that required medical treatment. He was unable to return to work and physical therapy did not provide any relief for his symptoms. He underwent a fusion surgery but continued to report lack of motion in his arm and hand, the inability to pick things up, and ongoing pain. The man indicated that he was unable to care for his minor children as a result of his injuries and that household chores were difficult. He did state, however, that he could likely perform light duty work on a full-time basis.

One of the most integral parts of the claims process is the independent medical examination where a neutral physician performs an exam and issues a report regarding the nature and extent of the work-related injuries and any pre-existing injuries. An independent medical examiner performed an evaluation of the injured man and concluded that the worker was reporting a higher level of pain than what a person experiencing his same injuries would likely report. The judge adopted the findings of the independent medical examination and denied the man’s claim for benefits finding that his shoulder injury was not a work-related injury. The judge also adopted the finding concluding that the man was exaggerating his level of pain and lack of mobility.

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If you are injured on the job, it can be difficult to know when you will be fully healed or whether you will ever return to the same physical condition as before the accident. In the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system, injured employees are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses associated with the work injury. Many insurers attempt to reject certain medical expenses as unreasonable or unnecessary in an attempt to save costs. As seasoned Boston work injury lawyers, we will fight diligently to ensure that you receive the compensation that you need and deserve for your injuries.

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court considered whether an injured worker was entitled to ongoing compensation for medical treatments associated with a left shoulder injury and a back injury that he sustained on the job. The man injured his left shoulder first and his employer’s insurance company provided benefits for this incident. Sometime thereafter, the man suffered an injury to his lower back for which he sought a new set of benefits. The employer approved this claim but eventually terminated the second set of benefits, alleging that the back injury was not the result of his occupational duties and that it involved a pre-existing injury.

The injured man sought benefits for his shoulder and back injury and the presiding judge issued an order awarding benefits only for the shoulder injury. The man underwent an independent medical examination for his shoulder injury and the conducting physician issued a report. A second independent medical examination was held to examine the man’s back injury.

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Many individuals have faced health conditions or physical injuries throughout their lifetimes. This can create complex isseus when it comes to receiving benefits in a workers’ compensation claim. These laws are designed to provide injured workers with benefits and reimbursement for medical expenses incurred as the result of an on-the-job injury, but not necessarily for pre-existing injuries or conditions. Ensuring that the insurance company and administrative professionals treat your pre-existing injury appropriately is a critical aspect of any workers’ compensation claim. Our dedicated team of Massachusetts work injury lawyers are prepared to help you fight for the just outcome that you deserve.

In a recent case, an appellate court in Massachusetts was asked to review an award of benefits to an injured worker who had a history of back injuries and pain. The insurer sought a termination of the benefit payments to the worker on the grounds that doctors determined that the worker had reached maximum medical improvement. The employee was injured in a car crash when he was working as a glass installer in August 2015. The insurance company provided him with temporary total incapacity benefits. It sought to terminate these benefits in November 2016 and provided a report from an independent medical examiner in support of its request.

The reviewing judge ordered a modification of the worker’s benefits from total incapacity benefits to partial incapacity benefits. He also concluded that the man’s earning capacity was $250 per week. The insurance company and the worker filed an appeal.

Next, the worker underwent an additional independent medical examination. A hearing was conducted regarding both appeals and the judge concluded that the matter had become medically complex. This allowed each party to provide additional medical evidence. After reviewing the documentation, the judge determined that the worker suffered from a history of pain in his lower back that was not a result of his occupational duties. He underwent a spinal fusion when he was eight years old, for example.

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There are many phases of a workers’ compensation claim, and the outcome or decision made at each phase can have a substantial impact on your ability to recover benefits. Perhaps one of the most essential steps is determining the date on which the injury took place or accrued and the extent of the injury. The Massachusetts workers’ compensation legal professionals at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith proudly provide workers with the responsive and dedicated legal counsel they need to ensure that they receive the maximum amount of compensation that they need and deserve.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal recently considered whether a lower court properly determined an injured plumber’s work capacity following an on-the-job injury. In 2004, the worker suffered a neck injury while sleeping resulting in surgery. Roughly four or five years later, the worker began working for a plumbing company. He reported discomfort and tightness in his neck after operating a hammer drill in 2013. The man received medical treatment for this injury and the employer paid temporary total incapacity benefits until April 2014.

The judge assigned to the claim ordered the employer to resume paying benefits on a continuous basis. Both parties appealed and the employee modified his claim for benefits to seek a different category of payments. As part of the appeal, the worker was required to undergo a medical examination with an independent medical examiner. The employer provided additional medical documentation following its conclusion that the orthopedic surgeon who treated the worker did not explain the connection between the man’s 2004 neck injury and the hammer drill injury. After reviewing all evidence, the court concluded that the worker sustained a work-related injury and that it was the major but not necessarily the primary cause of his need for medical assistance. He awarded benefits to the employee and the employer appealed.

Some work injuries result in devastating and painful physical injuries. In other situations, the victim may suffer psychiatric or mental harm either separately or in addition to a physical injury. Because the signs and symptoms associated with psychiatric injuries can be more difficult to establish and identify, it is critical to retain a knowledgeable Boston workers’ compensation lawyer to help you ensure that you are treated fairly during the claims process and to help you secure the benefits and reimbursement that you deserve.

A Massachusetts appellate court recently reviewed an insurance company’s challenge to an order awarding an injured worker benefits for an injury that she suffered to her foot. The woman reported falling down a flight of stairs at work. She required several surgeries to address the injury, but it did not resolve and she reported continued pain and discomfort. The woman filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and the insurer accepted liability. In her claim, the woman listed a number of physical limitations that severely limited her day-to-day activities, such as experiencing severe pain during cold weather. She testified at a hearing about her claim that she felt depression, hopelessness, and anger as a result of the injury and the resulting limitations on her life.

The judge concluded that the woman was permanently and totally disabled as a result of the injury. The judge also concluded that the woman was suffering from depression associated with the injury and included this in awarding the woman the full amount of benefits possible.

The workers’ compensation system has many different rules that govern how and when an injured employee must assert a claim for benefits. This includes a statute of limitations or a time limit on when a claim must be filed. If the injured worker fails to file the claim within the statute of limitations, he or she will be barred from receiving benefits and medical expenses compensation. The seasoned Boston work injury lawyers at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith have assisted countless Massachusetts residents with ensuring that they preserve their right to compensation.

In a recent decision, a Massachusetts Court of Appeal reviewed an injured worker’s challenge to a lower court’s decision to deny her claim for benefits based on the statute of limitations. The woman was employed as a nurse in 2007 when she experienced an injury to her neck. She sought treatment at the emergency room immediately following the injury. She continued to work but reported increased pain and discomfort in her neck. Her treating physicians prescribed a series of neck surgeries to address the condition. The woman did not file a claim for benefits but received a disability payment for the period of time that she was unable to work. She also testified that she did not inform her employer of her injury in 2007.

In 2009, the worker continued to seek treatment for her neck injury while returning to work. In 2012, she told her employer that she could not turn her neck following a work assignment that she characterized as heavy. She received treatment for the injury while being out of work for three months. She also received short-term disability benefits during this period.

In 2015, the woman filed her claim for benefits with the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system, stating her last day of work as the date that the injury occurred. In her claim, she stated that she suffered a cumulative injury resulting from many years of moving and lifting patients. The insurer for her employer denied the claim as not being filed within the statute of limitations. The woman fought the denial and a workers’ compensation judge eventually issued an order requiring the insurance company to pay benefits to the woman for her injury.

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Just because you were awarded workers’ compensation benefits does not mean that the insurance company will continue to pay them indefinitely. There are many procedures in the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system that allow an insurer to seek a cancellation, modification, or adjustment to an award of benefits. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you ensure that you protect yourself against a revocation or reduction of your benefit payments down the road.A Massachusetts appellate court recently reviewed a claim in which an insurance company asked the court to discontinue, modify, or recoup benefit payments that it was required to pay to an injured worker. The worker in the claim was injured on the job in a motor vehicle accident. The insurance company originally accepted liability for her injury, but it later fought her claim for reimbursement for medical treatments. The worker appealed the insurance company’s denial, and the judge issued an order requiring the insurance company to pay for the treatments as well as disability benefits. The insurance company filed an appeal and offered more medical records. At the end of the appeal hearing, the judge affirmed the decision to require the company to provide reimbursements for medical expenses and disability benefits.

The insurance company appealed this order on several grounds, including an assertion that the judge misstated medical expert testimony in his opinion. The insurance company also alleged that the judge impermissibly relied on his own personal observations of the worker during a hearing to conclude that she was uncomfortable and suffering from work-related injuries.

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Most people know that the workers’ compensation system provides benefits and medical expenses reimbursement for injuries that happen at work. Many individuals mistakenly believe that this only covers physical injuries, when in reality Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system covers psychiatric injuries as well. Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are standing by and ready to assist you with asserting your right to benefits.Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court discussed a claim involving a psychiatric injury. The claim involved a number of hearings regarding the psychiatric injury that he sustained while he was working as a mechanic aide. The aide worked for a company that provided general maintenance services for an apartment complex, and his employer asked him to enforce the facility’s non-smoking requirement. The man testified at the hearings that he was subjected to serious harassment and confrontations when he would attempt to enforce the policy.

After the first hearing, the judge concluded that the man suffered from serious anxiety as a result of his job duties and that he was disabled. The judge also concluded, however, that the man was not disabled from performing other job duties. As a result, the judge denied the worker’s claim for benefits. He appealed, and the decision was affirmed. After another appeal, the appellate court concluded that the man sustained a total disability as a result of the harassment and confrontations and concluded that he was due full benefits until he could enter another occupation.

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The construction industry faces some of the highest rates of workers’ compensation claims, which is unsurprising considering how demanding and dangerous this work can be. As seasoned Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers, we have guided numerous industrial workers through the process and helped them maximize their recovery.

In a recent decision from a Massachusetts appellate court, a construction worker was employed by the city highway department as an operator of heavy equipment. He injured his back in 2008 while using a device known as a jumping jack compactor. One year after, he reported another injury when he drove over a pothole while operating a road paver. According to the man, the impact caused him to jump out of his seat. He requested workers’ compensation benefits and the judge ordered his employer’s insurance agent to provide total incapacity benefits.

Due to his injuries, the worker was prescribed a surgical lumbar fusion operation and the judge resultingly deemed the claim medically complex. while the insurer accepted responsibility for the first injury using the jumping jack compactor, it denied liability for the second accident affecting the worker’s lower back.

A hearing was held to determine whether the insurer should compensate the man for the second surgery. The employee testified regarding his job duties and the accidents, and evidence was offered to support his testimony. The judge concluded that based on the man’s testimony regarding his pain and limitations, restrictions, background, training, vocational experience, and age he was permanently and totally disabled. The judge included medical reports and testimony regarding the spinal fusion’s direct relation to the injury.

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If you seek workers’ compensation benefits, the insurer for your employer is typically the company that handles the claim. This can be incredibly difficult, especially if the insurer does not play by the rules and attempts to avoid paying benefits and medical expense reimbursements that you need and deserve. As seasoned Massachusetts’ work injury lawyers, our team has helped countless individuals fight for their right to coverage after a devastating work injury.

In a Massachusetts court decision that came down recently, an insurance company appealed a lower court’s order requiring the company to provide permanent and total incapacity benefits to an injured worker, in addition to payments for bodily disfigurement totaling $15,000. The court additionally awarded the worker reasonable medical expenses stemming from the injury and allowed the worker to seek reimbursement for a motorized chairlift in her home.

The injury occurred when the employee was working in a school system as the person who prepared and handed out food to school students at lunch. She was cleaning the cafeteria facility when spilled food caused her to slip and fall. Her right leg was struck when she fall, resulting in a serious injury. Although she tried to resume working, she was ultimately required to go home because of the pain. A medical examination revealed that she suffered a serious ankle sprain and contusions.

The insurer appealed the award of benefits, identifying several errors. First, it claimed that the lower court made inconsistent findings, mischaracterized evidence that the independent medical examiner provided, relied on supplemental medical evidence to challenge the medical examiner’s opinion, and failed to perform a suitable analysis of the ultimate cause of the woman’s injury.

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