Workplace injuries can happen in many different ways. Heavy lifting can cause a back strain or even a herniated lumbar disc. Repetitive motion can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar nerve entrapment. A slip and fall accident on a wet floor can cause a broken arm or leg.
If a work injury results in an employee being unable to do any kind of work at all, he or she qualifies for permanent and total incapacity benefits. If an employee can still work but loses a portion of his or her earning capacity because of a work-related injury or illness (including an injury that causes the employee to change to a job that pays a lower wage or an illness that prevents the worker from working the same number of hours per week), he or she is entitled to partial incapacity benefits for up to 260 weeks.
In some cases, the employee and the employer (or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier) may disagree as to the extent of an employee’s disability. When this happens, the first review of the case is usually by an administrative law judge. A reviewing board may then look at the case and, after that, the court of appeals.
Facts of the Case
In the recent (unreported) case of Anthony Osemwegie’s Case, the plaintiff was a man who filed a workers’ compensation claim after he was kicked in the head by a combative patient at the hospital where he worked in May 2012. Both an administrative law judge and the reviewing board of the Department of Industrial Accidents determined that the plaintiff’s workplace injury had resolved within a few months after the incident and that, consequently, the defendant (a self-insured employer) was only liable for the plaintiff’s reasonable and necessary medical expenses after that date. The plaintiff appealed.
Decision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court
The appellate court affirmed, holding that the employee did not show that the administrative law judge or the reviewing board abused their discretion in adopting the report of an independent medical examiner (IME) or a certain doctor. Both the IME and the physician opined that the plaintiff’s injury had fully resolved and that he had been capable of resuming his usual work without restriction as of September 2012. Thus, it was not an error for the lower tribunal to deny the plaintiff’s claim for additional benefits other than those related to medical care necessitated by the injury.
Speak with a Skillful Cape Cod Work Injury Lawyer
Workers’ compensation laws were designed to make it easy for an injured employee to get help with medical expenses and lost wages following an on-the-job accident or illness. Unfortunately, there are many potential pitfalls that can keep an employee from receiving the compensation to which he or she is entitled. The knowledgeable Cape Cod work injury attorneys at the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can help. For a free consultation, call us at (888) 262-6664 and ask for an appointment in either our Hyannis or Plymouth offices.
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