How Small Details Can Make Big Differences in Your Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Case

A famous book once advised, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” While that advice may work well in many areas, the law is not one of those areas. In legal matters, including workers’ compensation cases, small details can make big differences in outcomes. To make sure you have all of your bases covered in your workers’ compensation case, both great and small, be sure you have representation from a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.C.P.’s workers’ compensation case was one example in which the details mattered a lot. C.P. was an assistant manager of a supermarket meat department in 2013 when, while pulling a box of chicken at work, he injured his back. The manager filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The employer fought the manager’s request for benefits, but the workers’ compensation judge ordered the employer to pay temporary total disability benefits of $1,040 per week, starting on Dec. 2, 2013.

In the spring of 2016, the employee filed a request for permanent total disability benefits. The judge, however, only awarded the employer partial disability benefits. At the hearing, the judge had heard from a doctor who diagnosed C.P. with a protruding disc and, while concluding that the employee could not perform his old meat cutter duties, found that he could do light-duty work as long as it involved no prolonged standing or walking, and no lifting of more than 10 pounds.

The employee appealed his case, contending that the workers’ compensation judge made a legal error when the judge awarded him only partial disability benefits. After he received an award of temporary total benefits, the employee was only required by the law to show that there had been no improvement in his back condition. The employee’s argument was that, “even where the only medical evidence is of partial disability,” the employer’s acceptance that he was totally disabled (in his previous temporary disability claim) meant that he was only obliged to show a lack of improvement, rather than demonstrating total disability.

The appeals board did not accept that argument, but there was another basis that did help out the employee. The judge ordered the employer to pay partial disability benefits from Oct. 14, 2013 through Dec. 6, 2016. The employee’s argument in that regard was that the employer was obligated to pay temporary total disability benefits for that period, thus making the order erroneous. Since the review board could not “tell to what extent the judge’s mistaken order of Section 35 benefits going back to the date of injury, may have played in the judge’s determination of incapacity benefits,” the review board ordered the case sent back to the workers’ compensation judge.

To get the quality representation you need to get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, be sure you have knowledgeable counsel in your corner. Reach out to Plymouth County workers’ compensation lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann, who has spent many years effectively representing people from across Plymouth County, including in Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury, in their workers’ compensation cases. To find out more about how we can help you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.