Massachusetts Employee Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Failing to Timely Pursue Disability Claim in Previously Filed Case

In Perez v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a worker successfully sought medical benefits under Sections 13 and 30 of the Massachusetts workers’ compensation law for a 2008 cervical strain. Despite this, an administrative law judge refused to award the worker benefits for a prior 2005 workplace accident. In 2012, the Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board affirmed the judge’s decision.

Not long afterward, the worker sought additional medical and disability benefits related to the 2008 incident as well as Section 34 payments for a previously unreported on-the-job injury that purportedly occurred in 2010. In addition, the employee claimed she suffered from a related psychiatric condition. After the employee’s workers’ compensation benefits claim was denied at a conference, the woman appealed her case. Next, the worker underwent a medical examination that was conducted by an impartial doctor under Section 11A. The neutral physician’s testimony was admitted into evidence, along with medical evidence related to the woman’s supposed mental health condition.

At a hearing before an administrative judge, the woman’s employer claimed that the injury that resulted from her 2008 accident was not compensable unless she could demonstrate that her condition had worsened. In his decision, the judge ruled that the worker’s claims related to her workplace injuries were barred up to the period that ended on the last day of the record in the prior case. That date was May 2011. The administrative law judge also ruled that the woman’s testimony regarding her harm was not credible. As a result, the judge dismissed all of the employee’s pending workers’ compensation claims.

Next, the worker appealed the judge’s decision to the Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board. On appeal, the worker asserted that the judge committed error when he refused to consider her alleged 2010 industrial accident because it could have been considered in her prior claim. The Board disagreed and stated the worker’s failure to pursue her 2010 injury claim sooner was not justified.

The Board then rejected the employee’s remaining error claims because the administrative law judge determined the woman’s testimony regarding her worsening condition was not credible. Since the workers’ compensation judge did not commit error when he denied the employee’s claim for disability benefits, the Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board affirmed his decision.

If you suffered a serious injury in a Massachusetts workplace accident, you may be entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits. The thoughtful lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. are available to help you navigate the sometimes convoluted process of filing your workers’ compensation benefits claim. To speak with a skillful Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your rights, you should contact Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. through our website today or give us a call at 800-367-0871.

Additional Resources:

Perez v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board Decision Nos. 037535-10 and 039240-08 (August 20, 2015)

Workers’ Compensation