Maine Workers’ Comp Alert: Appellate Division Rulings Update

Workers' Compensation Alert

Maine Appellate Division Affirms Award for Injury Resulting from Employer-Provided Hepatitis B Vaccination
In Torrey v. Island Nursing Home, Me. WCB App. Div. No. 16-34 (October 28, 2016) the Appellate Division affirmed an award of benefits, finding a compensable work injury occurred due to an adverse reaction to a hepatitis B vaccination. The employee, a CNA, received her first injection for the vaccination prior to commencing work for the employer, a nursing home. She received additional injections to complete the vaccination while employed by the nursing home, after being informed by the employer that the injections were free, encouraged, but not required. If the employee had refused she would have been segregated from working with hepatitis B residents but her employment otherwise would have been unaffected. The Appellate Division found the adverse reaction to the vaccination constituted a compensable work injury because the employee receiving the vaccination promoted the employer’s interest, was within the terms and conditions of employment and was acquiesced to by the employer.

Maine Appellate Division Clarifies that an Offset May be Taken for Old-Age Social Security Benefits Only for the Same Period in which Benefits Are Paid
In Urrutia v. Interstate Brands International, WCB App. Div. No. 16-35 (October 31, 2016) the Appellate Division reversed a decision permitting an insurer to stop benefit payments until it exhausted a credit for Social Security retirement benefits previously received for which the employer had not concurrently taken the applicable statutory offset. The Appellate Division found the order allowing a discontinuance of incapacity benefit payments impermissibly facilitated the recovery of a unilateral overpayment of benefits. The Appellate Division reasoned that section 221 requires that the offset be taken only “with respect to the same period” for which the employee is receiving or has received benefits.