The Workers’ Compensation Act is the sole remedy for Massachusetts employees who sustain harm at work. In other words, they cannot pursue civil claims for damages against their employers for harm that they suffered at work. They can seek compensation from other parties that caused or contributed to their harm, however. In such instances, the parties will often disagree as to whether any workers’ compensation claim arising out of the same incident as the lawsuit is relevant. This was the case in a recent Massachusetts personal injury matter in which the court permitted the plaintiff to preclude information regarding his workers’ compensation claim. If you were hurt at work, you could be owed benefits from your employer and damages from other parties, and it is in your best interest to speak to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your options.
The History of the Case
It is alleged that the plaintiff sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident that occurred in the parking lot of his employer. He subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim and was awarded benefits. At the same time, he filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant, asserting that the defendant’s failure to properly clear the ice and snow on the parking lot caused his accident and subsequent harm. The parties in the civil case conducted discovery, during which the plaintiff produced his workers’ compensation records. Prior to trial, the parties filed numerous motions in limine in which they asked the court to determine what evidence could be used at trial; two of the motions pertained to the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation records.
Evidence of Workers’ Compensation Claims in Personal Injury Matters
The court first dealt with the plaintiff’s motion in which he requested a ruling that prohibited the introduction of evidence relating to his receipt of workers’ compensation benefits, noting that the defendant did not file a response to the motion. Thus, the court granted it as unopposed. The plaintiff also asked the court to prohibit the plaintiff from introducing any evidence related to other harm he suffered at work or workers’ compensation claims he filed following other work accidents on the grounds that it was prejudicial and irrelevant. Continue reading →