Workers' CompensationMassachusetts Appellate Court Upholds Denial of Benefits For Injury That Happened While Driving Home From Work

February 25, 20210

The workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts is designed to provide benefits to workers who are injured on the job but what about situations where the employee is traveling to and from work? This is a legal issue that comes up frequently in workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes, an insurance company may even try to deny your claim on the basis that you were injured during a time when you were not technically working. One way to protect yourself and to ensure that you get the full amount of benefits that you deserve is to work with a Boston work injury lawyer. At Mass Injury Group, we will review your injury, help you file your claim, and make sure that you are treated fairly throughout the process.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal has considered a situation where a workers’ compensation insurance company challenged a claim on the basis that the worker was not on the job when the injury occurred. The man slipped as he was getting out of his truck, which was a vehicle that his employer issued to him, on his way home from work. He hurt his right shoulder as a result of the injury. He had suffered a previous injury to his other shoulder approximately two years earlier while working as a crane operator. He claimed that as he fell, he tucked his injured left shoulder into his body to protect it, which caused him to land on his right shoulder.

The man sought medical treatment for the injury at the emergency room. He was able to go to work the next day but ultimately required surgery for his shoulder. Next, he filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for both shoulder injuries. The judge assigned to his case denied treatment for the right shoulder injury and the worker appealed.


After an examination with an independent medical examiner, the doctor concluded that the worker’s injuries prevented him from returning to his job in construction and that he required a prosthesis for the first injury affecting his left shoulder. Regarding the right shoulder, the doctor concluded that the man required surgery to treat a torn rotator cuff.

The judge reviewed this medical evidence and concluded that the right shoulder injury was not related to the left shoulder injury. Based on this, the court ruled that the insurance company was not required to pay for treatment related to the right shoulder. One of the insurance companies involved in the dispute appealed this ruling. The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision finding that the right shoulder injury was not work-related. Some of the facts it used to reach this decision included evidence showing the man had no intention to continue working, that he left work at his usual time, and that he had a fixed place of employment at an office.

If you were hurt while going to or from work, you may be entitled to benefits for missed wages and reimbursements for medical expenses. To find out more about working with a Boston work injury lawyer at Mass Injury Group, contact us for a free consultation. This is a great way to learn more about your situation and whether you are legally entitled to financial support. Call us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.

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