Workplace injuries not only cause physical harm, they often inhibit a person’s ability to earn an income as well. Most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance, however, which provide wage loss benefits to employees injured in the workplace in certain instances. As recently explained by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, however, wage loss benefits are meant to replace income lost due to a workplace injury and an injured employee will not be eligible for such benefits if he or she is able to earn more than he or she earned prior to the injury. If you suffered a workplace injury and can no longer earn an income, it is critical to retain a knowledgeable Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to help you pursue any benefits you may be owed.
The Claimant’s Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claim
It is reported that the claimant suffered a work-related injury in January 2013. He underwent physical therapy, after which he attempted to return to work but claimed that he was unable to perform the functions of the job. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer paid the employee total incapacity benefits initially but filed a request to discontinue the benefits. Subsequently, in July 2015, an administrative judge granted the insurer’s request. The judge found that the claimant was partially disabled but was able to return to light duty work at least three-quarters of the hours he previously worked. Additionally, the judge found that three-quarter time work exceeded the stipulated weekly wage, even at minimum wage. Thus, the judge terminated the claimant’s total incapacity replacement benefits. The claimant appealed.
A reviewing board then vacated the administrative judge’s decision and recommitted the case for further review, due to the fact that the administrative judge did not review the claimant’s medical documents. The administrative judge then reviewed the medical documents, and once again denied the claimant’s wage loss claim. The reviewing board then affirmed the judge’s decision.