If you’ve been injured in the workplace, you are obligated to provide notice of the injury and notice of a claim within the statutory time limits. Massachusetts General Laws, c. 152, § 41 requires notice of an injury to the insurer or insured as soon as practicable within four years of the date the injured worker is able to connect the cause of her disability to her employment. While an injured person must provide notice, the insurer must also act if it perceives timing to be a problem. A recent decision asserts it is the insurer’s responsibility to properly raise this affirmative defense of improper notice at the time of the hearing, rather than on appeal.
This decision originates from ongoing injuries suffered by a registered nurse. The nurse injured her neck at work in January 2007 and sought treatment at the time of the injury. She kept working but suffered increasing pain until a surgery two months later on her C5-C6 vertebrae.
Two years after this procedure, the nurse began experiencing and treating neck pain again, but she remained on the job for another three years. She eventually sought physical therapy and received corticosteroid injections. The nurse managed to return to full-duty work but left in April 2014, due to exacerbated neck pain. This resulted in another surgery on her spine the following year. She has not returned to work since the operation in July 2015.