Case Lesson: Lump Sum Agreements in Mass.

19 Jul, 2022 Frank Ferreri

                               

Boston, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Readers of today’s What Do You Think feature encountered Mary M. Lamport’s case, where an employee’s accepting a lump sum payment for injuries to her right shoulder precluded her from later seeking benefits for pain in her left shoulder related to the same accident.

The court reached its decision because it was “well settled by the [reviewing board of the Department of Industrial Accidents’] previous decisions over many decades.”

Here’s a look at the cases the court relied on and the legal principles in Massachusetts they stood for.

Case Names

Central Legal Principles

LaFleur v. C.C. Pierce Co., 496 N.E. 2d 827 (Mass. 1986)

Once approved by the board, a lump sum agreement precludes reopening of the case except upon a showing of fraud or mutual mistake.

Martin v. Ring, 514 N.E. 2d 663 (Mass. 1987)

A loss of function claim was barred under principles of claim preclusion because the claimed loss of function was known at the time the employee entered into a lump sum settlement with the insurer.

The employee cited Wilson’s Case, 50 N.E. 3d 213 (Mass. App. Ct. 2016) to argue that the lump sum agreement did not prevent her from recovering for the other shoulder. In that case, the worker was able to bring a claim for injuries to his left shoulder. However, the only contested issue in that case had to do with whether the left shoulder injuries were causally related to the accident. The insurer in that case did not raise the lump-sum agreement as a bar to recovery and, consequently, the effect of the agreement was not before the court. Thus, Wilson’ case did not help the employee.


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Frank encourages everyone to consider helping out the Kind Souls Foundation and Kids' Chance of America.

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