Attorney William H. Troupe recently received a favorable decision from the DIA Reviewing Board in Boston. The case involved a registered nurse who injured her back while helping to transfer a patient. She began receiving workers’ compensation temporary total disability benefits for approximately five months, at which point the self-insurer reduced her payments to maximum partial disability. The employee, through her counsel, filed a claim at the Department of Industrial Accidents, to get her benefits increased back up to the total disability rate.
Pursuant to Section 11A of the Workers’ Compensation Act, the employee was examined by an impartial physician. After the hearing, the Judge ultimately adopted the opinion of the impartial physician, who found that the employee was restricted “to work which requires her to be able to change positions frequently and not require sitting of more than 30 minutes at a time, no lifting more than 10 pounds and no more than 4 hours a day.” The Judge was also “persuaded by the employee’s testimony” concerning her subjective complaints of pain. In her decision, the Administrative Judge ultimately awarded the Employee ongoing total disability benefits.
The Self-Insurer appealed the decision on 3 grounds: 1) that the expert medical evidence failed to support a causal relationship between the employee’s work injury and her disability, 2) the judge’s finding that the employee is totally disabled was not supported by the evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom, and 3) the judge failed to consider all of its evidence.
The Reviewing Board rejected the Self-insurers’ arguments. They found that the Judge correctly adopted the opinion of the 11A Impartial Physician and that the Judge acted within her discretion in giving “decisive weight” to the Employee’s subjective complaints of pain. The Reviewing Board also found “harmless error” in the Judge’s failure to list or consider the medical evidence it submitted at conference, which was part of the record. Citing Driscoll v. Town of Framingham, (February 25, 2014)(citation omitted), “misinterpretation of medical opinion rendered harmless when viewed in context of other findings.” The evidence in question, actually supported the Employee’s claim, and therefore, the Reviewing Board found this to be a harmless error.
As such, the favorable decision of the Administrative Judge was affirmed.
Registered Nurses and other nursing staff are among the most common clients we encounter at the Troupe Law Office, as is the mechanism of injury that occurred in this case. Injuries of such can often be career ending, given the physical demands in the nursing profession.
If you have sustained an injury at work, of any kind, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please visit our web site at https://www.troupelawoffice.com for more information. Or, call us at (978) 531-7401, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer free consultations for all cases. We look forward to working with you.