Under Massachusetts law, people who suffer harm at work are generally precluded from seeking damages from their employer in a civil lawsuit. Instead, their only available remedy is workers’ compensation benefits. They can seek compensation from other parties whose negligence caused their harm, however. If they do, the defendant in the civil lawsuit may attempt to introduce evidence of their workers’ compensation claims to attempt to reduce their liability. Recently, a Massachusetts court addressed the question of whether evidence of a plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim was relevant or admissible at a personal injury trial when both matters related to the same harm. If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s carelessness, you could be owed compensation, and it is in your best interest to speak to a proficient Cape Cod personal injury lawyer.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that while he was at work, the plaintiff slipped and fell in the parking lot. He filed a workers’ compensation claim and was subsequently awarded benefits. He also filed a personal injury lawsuit in which he asserted negligence claims against the defendant, the party responsible for clearing the subject lot of snow and ice. The parties exchanged discovery, which included the plaintiff providing the defendant with documentation of his workers’ compensation claim. Before trial, the plaintiff filed motions in limine asking the court to preclude evidence of his workers’ compensation claim from use at trial.
Evidence of Workers’ Compensation Claims in Personal Injury Matters
First, the court examined the plaintiff’s motion in limine with regard to his current workers’ compensation benefits on the ground that it could detrimentally impact his recovery of damages. The defendant did not object to the plaintiff’s motion; as such, it was granted as unopposed. The plaintiff also filed a motion in limine asking the court to prohibit the defendant from introducing evidence of other injuries or his prior workers’ compensation claims, arguing that they were not relevant and would be overly prejudicial.
Further, the plaintiff noted that the defendant had not identified any expert who could analyze the extent to which his prior injuries impacted his current health. The defendant agreed as to the workers’ compensation records but argued that evidence of prior injuries may be relevant to the subject case, as it could provide an explanation for the plaintiff’s current symptoms. The court ultimately agreed with the defendant, and denied the second motion with respect to evidence of other injuries but granted it with regard to the workers’ compensation claim.
Meet with an Experienced Cape Cod Attorney
People who recklessly cause others to suffer harm should be held accountable, but in some cases, they will attempt to avoid liability by showing the injured party received compensation from another source. If you were hurt by another party’s careless behavior you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your rights. The experienced personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, are adept at proving negligence, and if we represent you we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at 888-262-6664 to set up a meeting.