Workers' CompensationMassachusetts Appellate Court Reviews Claim for Psychiatric Injury Benefits in Apartment Maintenance Aide Claim

August 12, 20180

Most people know that the workers’ compensation system provides benefits and medical expenses reimbursement for injuries that happen at work. Many individuals mistakenly believe that this only covers physical injuries, when in reality Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system covers psychiatric injuries as well. Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are standing by and ready to assist you with asserting your right to benefits.Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court discussed a claim involving a psychiatric injury. The claim involved a number of hearings regarding the psychiatric injury that he sustained while he was working as a mechanic aide. The aide worked for a company that provided general maintenance services for an apartment complex, and his employer asked him to enforce the facility’s non-smoking requirement. The man testified at the hearings that he was subjected to serious harassment and confrontations when he would attempt to enforce the policy.

After the first hearing, the judge concluded that the man suffered from serious anxiety as a result of his job duties and that he was disabled. The judge also concluded, however, that the man was not disabled from performing other job duties. As a result, the judge denied the worker’s claim for benefits. He appealed, and the decision was affirmed. After another appeal, the appellate court concluded that the man sustained a total disability as a result of the harassment and confrontations and concluded that he was due full benefits until he could enter another occupation.


Another hearing was held to pinpoint the timeframe in which the man was disabled. At this hearing, the judge denied his claim for benefits. The worker filed an appeal, and the reviewing court upheld the lower court’s decision, concluding that the worker did not provide any medical evidence showing that he was unable to work as a result of his job-related harm. This decision was upheld on appeal.

While this decision was pending, the worker filed another claim for benefits that the court granted pursuant to section 35, based on his earning capacity. The award was affirmed on appeal. He then filed another claim for benefits that the court denied on the basis that he was unable to work as a result of conditions in his personal life. Specifically, the man was diagnosed with anxiety and took anti-depression medications. Evidence in the record showed that he also was unsuccessful at launching his own business as a handyman. The judge also noted that the man was experiencing a separation from his spouse and that one of his children had a severe mental disability. Additional evidence showed that the man had started drinking, staying home during the day, and playing video games compulsively. The denial of benefits was upheld on appeal.

Establishing your right to workers’ compensation benefits can be difficult, especially when a psychological injury is involved. At the Mass Injury Group, we will help you explore every legal recourse available to you while ensuring that you receive the responsive and compassionate legal counsel that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online.

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