Achieving a successful result in your initial workers’ compensation benefits hearing is very important. If you succeed and your employer appeals, there are limited ways the employer can win. An appeal that essentially asks the Reviewing Board to reweigh the evidence very likely won’t succeed. The workers’ compensation judge is the trier of fact and has the authority to make decisions regarding witnesses’ credibility and the weight that various pieces of evidence should receive. As long as there was a reasonable basis for what the judge decided, your award of benefits will generally be upheld. Before you take on the workers’ compensation process, be sure you have representation from a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.
C.D. was a worker who was able to achieve that successful result in his hearing. C.D. drove, loaded and unloaded a truck for his employer. One day, at the end of his shift, the driver fell out of his truck, hitting his elbows, shoulder and head. C.D. later filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. A hearing was held and, at that hearing, both the driver and a doctor gave credible testimony that the injuries resulting from the accident had left the driver temporarily totally disabled. The judge ruled in favor of the driver and ordered that he receive what’s known as “Section 34” benefits, which means temporary total disability benefits.
The doctor who gave the testimony was an independent medical provider who examined C.D. under the auspices of Section 11A(2) of the workers’ compensation law. In any workers’ compensation case, one of the most important things you’ll have to prove is causation. If you have a history of medical problems prior to your workplace accident, your employer (or employer’s insurer) may try to argue that your injuries are actually tied to those pre-existing conditions, not your workplace accident. Success, then, may be closely tied to having very credible and persuasive testimony that proves this connection with regard to causation.
The independent doctor who examined C.D. stated that, in his opinion, the driver’s post-concussion syndrome, recurring headaches and pain in both arms were caused by the accident. He based that opinion on the fact that the employee did not have any of those symptoms prior to his accident. C.D. also had memory issues, focus issues and vertigo that the workplace head injury caused, according to the doctor. C.D. had undergone an examination of his head and that had ruled out all causes for those symptoms other than post-concussion syndrome, which C.D. had developed after the fall.
Of course, you need more than just testimony that shows that your workplace accident caused your medical problems. You also need proof that those issues left you unable to perform any kind of work. The doctor, relying heavily on symptoms and difficulties reported to him by the driver, concluded that the worker was totally disabled. The judge, based upon the doctor’s opinions and his own assessment, concluded that the employee had proved total disability.
The Reviewing Board, stating that it was not that body’s job to re-weigh the evidence weighed by the workers’ compensation judge, upheld the ruling for the driver.
To give yourself the best chance for the positive results you need, your case needs skillful representation. Experienced Plymouth County workers’ compensation attorney Michael S. Mehrmann can provide the representation you need in that hearing, having effectively represented people from across Plymouth County, including Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury in their workers’ compensation cases. To find out more about how we can help you get the benefits you deserve, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.