Recently, the DIA Reviewing Board in Boston addressed in a recent opinion what percentage a work injury must contribute to establish a “compensable injury” under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, where multiple, non-work-related factors are present.
In this most recent case, Jane Sullivan v. Centrus Premier Home Care, the Insurer appealed the decision of the Administrative Judge after Hearing. One of the points raised on appeal was that the requirements set for in Chapter 152 § 1(7A) were not met with respect to disability after 9/23/09, which was the date of the § 11A Impartial examination. Section 1(7A) states, in part, that where a work injury combines with a pre-existing condition, not compensable under the MA Workers’ Comp Act, the resultant condition shall only be compensable to the extent that the compensable/work-related injury remains “a major, but not necessarily predominant cause of disability and need for treatment.”
In laymen’s terms, § 1(7A) states that where a work injury combines with a pre-existing, non-work-related injury, you must show that the work injury remains “a major, but not necessarily predominant cause” of the resultant condition. The phrase “a major, but not necessarily predominant,” has thus become subject to extensive interpretation by the Judges at the DIA, as well as the Reviewing Board.