Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds that Worker Was Only Entitled to Interest from Date of Claim that Ultimately Led to Benefits

While the majority of cases involving injuries (such as car accident lawsuits, slip and fall cases, and workers’ compensation claims) are settled out of court, sometimes litigation can drag out for several years.

In a recent workers’ compensation case heard by a Massachusetts appellate court, however, an injured worker’s case had been going on since the 1990s.

The appellate court was called upon to determine the date from which interest was due. Due to the filing of multiple claims over a 20-year period, the matter was more complicated than it might initially seem.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently appealed from the Massachusetts Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board, the plaintiff was a man who was injured on the job in 1993 and again in 1995. After many years of litigation, which included the plaintiff filing and withdrawing his workers’ compensation claims multiple times, an administrative law judge ordered the Massachusetts Insurance Insolvency Fund (which stood in the shoes of the insurer, which, but for insolvency, would have been responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits for the second injury) to pay the plaintiff permanent and total incapacity benefits from 1996 (when he first filed a claim related to the second injury) to the present and continuing.

The reviewing board affirmed the ALJ’s award but assessed interest only from the 2010 filing date of the plaintiff’s most recent claim. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that he should have been awarded interest from the 1996 date that the department functionally received notice of his claim for the second injury.

Holding of the Massachusetts Appeals Court

The appellate court affirmed the decision of the reviewing board. The court noted that the workers’ compensation laws are to be construed broadly to promote their “beneficent design” and that, had the plaintiff’s initial 1996 claim for his second injury ended favorably, he would have been entitled to receive interest from the date of the 1996 filing. However, the court pointed out that the plaintiff had agreed to terminate that claim after his benefits were denied at a conference.

The court concluded that the reviewing board did not act abuse its discretion in determining that the term “claim” (as set forth in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 152, § 50) means a formal filing that invokes an adjudicatory process that ultimately leads to an award of benefits. Since the employee’s 1996 claim did not lead to an award of benefits, the reviewing board’s decision regarding the date from which interest was to be paid was correct.

Talk to an Experienced Cape Cod Workers’ Compensation Attorney

As this case illustrates, many issues can arise in a workers’ compensation case, and resolving those issues can take a considerable amount of time. To put a knowledgeable, results-driven Cape Cod workers’ compensation lawyer to work on your case, call the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, at 888-262-6664 and ask for a free consultation. We will do our best to see that your case is handled efficiently and fairly. With offices located in both Plymouth and Hyannis, we serve clients throughout the Cape Cod area. We can also come to your home or hospital if necessary.

Related Blog Posts:

Recent Massachusetts Appeals Court Addresses Earning Capacity Computation in Work Injury Case

Massachusetts Appeals Court Agrees with Reviewing Board that Employee’s Injury Had Resolved, Ending All Benefits Except Medical Expenses

Contact Information