At any proceeding within the division of dispute resolution, the burden of going forward shall be on the employee seeking benefits, or on the insurer seeking modification or discontinuance of benefits. All parties must appear to present evidence in support of their positions.

Practice Note:

The burden of proof remains on the employee even when the disputed matter is a complaint for discontinuance or for modification of weekly benefits. Do not confuse the "burden of proof" with the "burden of going forward."

1. A conciliator who resolves a disputed claim reports it as "adjusted." (Please note conciliators may also approve lump sum settlements as "complete.") MGL c. 152, § 48(1).

2. If the claim is not adjusted, it proceeds to a conference before an administrative judge, who is assigned randomly by computer to hear it.

Practice Note

Except where events beyond the control of the department make such scheduling impracticable, the administrative judge assigned to any case referred to the division of dispute resolution shall retain exclusive jurisdiction over the matter. Any subsequent claim or complaint related to the alleged injury shall be assigned to the same administrative judge.

3. The conciliator shall write a recommendation which contains the following information for the administrative judge to review at conference. MGL c. 152, § 10(4) (a-c):

a. the conciliator's recommendation about whether weekly compensation (or other benefits) should or should not be paid;

b. whether weekly compensation (or other benefits) should or should not be modified or terminated; or

c. if the information provided at the conciliation is insufficient to determine whether weekly compensation (or other benefits) should be paid, modified, or terminated.