Massachusetts Court Discusses Evidence Weighed in Workers’ Compensation Cases

People who are hurt at work are often eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits for their losses. It is not uncommon, however, for employers to argue that injured employees should not be granted benefits because their harm did not arise at work. An employer that fails to set forth such arguments at hearings related to a claim for benefits, though, cannot assert such defenses at a later date. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a Massachusetts workers’ compensation case in which a court affirmed a ruling in favor of the claimant. If you were hurt at work, you should meet with a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to discuss what benefits you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the claimant was hired by the defendant to work as a personal care nurse for the defendant’s mother. Initially, the claimant agreed to work for two hours a day in exchange for room and board. She also performed secretarial work and various domestic tasks, like washing dishes, taking out the garbage, and cleaning. It was understood that if she performed more than two hours of work a day, she would receive additional compensation, but the defendant never paid her for additional work.

Allegedly, the claimant slipped and fell, taking out the garbage, and injured her back and neck. She could not work after the accident and filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The administrative judge found that the claimant was employed as a domestic worker on the date of the injury and that she worked thirty to forty hours a week and was therefore owed benefits. The defendant appealed the award, which was affirmed by the reviewing board. The defendant appealed again.

Evidence Considered at Workers’ Compensation Hearings

On appeal, the defendant argued that the reviewing board erred in refusing to consider her arguments that the claimant was not an employee at the time of the fall that caused her injuries. The court explained that the defendant was required to raise all of her arguments before the administrative judge in order to preserve them. As the defendant failed to assert her position that the claimant was a domestic worker that only worked 16 hours per week before the administrative judge, the issue was waived, and the reviewing board did not have a duty to consider it. Similarly, the defendant did not preserve her argument that the claimant’s injuries did not arise during work. Thus, the court affirmed the reviewing board’s decision.

Meet with a Knowledgeable Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Workplace accidents are common, and while employees injured at work are often owed benefits, employers are not always willing to pay them. If you were hurt at work, it is smart to meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. James K. Meehan of the Law Office of James K. Meehan is a knowledgeable Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer who takes pride in helping injured workers protect their interests, and if you engage his services, he will zealously pursue any benefits you may be owed. You can reach Mr. Meehan through the form online or by calling him at 508-822-6600 to set up a conference.