Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog
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Hartzell v. Palmetto Collision is a workers’ compensation appeal that was decided by the South Carolina Supreme Court. In Hartzell, a 50-year-old claimant was working as as a paint technician at an auto body shop in the beginning of 2009 when he suffered an on-the-job injury.

car-wash-4-1508128Claimant was moving rims, tires, and heavy equipment in his paint shop when he hurt his lower back.  He started feeling the pain late in the day, and it got worse that night.  The following day he was very sore and in more pain.  According to his testimony at the hearing, he told his employer the next day that that he was very sore and likely hurt himself the day before at work.  His employer told him to go to the emergency room if he had back pain, but claimant decided not to seek any medical attention. Continue reading

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Vandenberg v. Dept. of Health & Social Services, a case from the Supreme Court of the State of Alaska, involved a nurse who suffered a permanent partial disability in a work-related injury.  Claimant injured her right shoulder as she was reaching for a laptop computer and bag of some sort while working for the department of health for the state of Alaska.

workAfter her shoulder injury, she missed over three months of work and then applied for what are known as reemployment benefits with her employer.  As part of this process, she was required to undergo a physical examination and evaluation.  At this evaluation, the staff doctor determined she had suffered a four percent total person disability.  This is a four percent disability after she had already completed surgery and occupational therapy. Continue reading

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Maxwell v. Sprint PCS, an appeal from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, involved a claimant who suffered an on-the-job injury.  While she was working, she hurt her knee and had to receive immediate medical attention.

gavel-2-1409592-mShe did not return to work immediately, but she filled out a timely application for workers’ compensation, known in that state as a CC form.  She needed to get surgery to repair the damaged tendon in her injured knee, and her employer agreed her injury was work related and covered by workers’ compensation.  For this reason, they approved her initial claim. Continue reading

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According to a recent news article from ABC, a man who was fired from a business in Cambridge, Massachusetts returned to the business early one morning and waited for his former coworker to arrive.

gun-1503923Authorities say he had a 12-gauge shotgun with him and ambushed this former coworker and attempted to shoot at point blank range.  His intended target was supposedly involved in some way in the decision that led to his termination.  The victim was able to use his briefcase as a shield, and it actually absorbed the shotgun pellets.  However, some of the pellets hit the building next to him and shattered the concrete, causing injuries, which are not believed to be life-threatening, but were substantial enough for him to be taken to the hospital. Continue reading

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A new report by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reveals that while we know of 10,000 serious work-related injuries every year that result in permanent consequences to the workers and their families. But it also shows us that is probably only half the story.worker3

Under a new requirement that took effect Jan. 1, 2015, companies have to report any work-related amputation, in-patient hospitalization or eye loss to OSHA within 24 hours. They must also report fatalities to the agency within 8 hours.

Now that it’s been more than one year since this new rule was implemented, OSHA offices tallied nearly 10,400 “severe” work-related injuries in all of 2015. That is the first full year of federal data under the new reporting requirement. This figure included nearly 2,650 amputations and more than 7,640 hospitalizations. But officials say even this is a serious under-count. By how much?

“We think the actual number is twice as high,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels in an interview with The Washington PostContinue reading

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Workers’ compensation insurance companies that have paid benefits have a right to pursue equitable contribution from other insurance companies that also provide insurance to the same policyholder, according to the latest ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.drive7

Although this doesn’t necessarily affect the injured worker directly, it’s important to keep abreast of what’s happening with workers’ compensation law in Massachusetts courts, particularly when it involves the Commonwealth’s highest court.

In this case, Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania v. Great Northern Insurance Company, the court ruled the doctrine of equitable contribution could be applied even though the injured worker’s company didn’t give notice of that injury to the second insurance company.  Continue reading

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Chronic pain is one of the most common claims made to workers’ compensation carriers. There are often a range of treatments, including physical and occupational therapy and medication. pills1

But it’s the medication part that has raised concern over the last two decades. In particular, the prescription of opioid drugs. These are medications that relieve pain by lowering the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. Some of the most common include Oxycontine (oxycodone), Percocet, Vicodin (hydrocodone), morphine and fentanyl.

These drugs do have a legitimate purpose for those who have suffered a work-related injury. However, problems have been known to arise when opioids are used for long-term treatment. A recent report by WorkCompCentral revealed employees who are taking a medium-to-high dose of opioids for a year or more experience a death rate of 1.75 per 1,000 patients. That may not sound like a lot, but let’s compare that to the death rate for logging and fishing (the riskiest jobs in the U.S.). Those workers face an annual death rate of 1 worker for every 1,000. Opioid users are almost twice as likely to die.  Continue reading

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A 70-year-old man who had been recently fired from a local business in Cambridge reportedly returned to inflict harm on his former boss, who’d had a role in his termination.

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According to The Boston Herald, the alleged shooter drove tot he company and waited in his vehicle for the 58-year-old victim to arrive. When he did, the suspect reportedly fired several rounds from his 12-gauge pump shot gun. Thankfully, he did not inflict serious injury. The victim used his briefcase to shield his face from the blast, though he did suffer minor shrapnel wounds.

Other workers stepped in to intervene, at which point the gunman got in his car and killed himself, police said. Authorities said the man had been fired several months earlier and had reportedly had no contact with the company or its workers from then until the day of the shooting.  Continue reading

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Many workers are required to spend much of their day with potentially dangerous chemicals. While this is obviously true with an employee who works at a hazardous waste facility, it is also true of many workers who work at a big box store.

nitrogen-1484310For example, a big box store that sells pool chemicals has to specifically train workers to be very careful around chemical spills and to avoid mixing certain chemicals together in the event of an accidental spill at is could result in toxic gas or a fire. However, despite the best preventative measures, there are still many accidents due to chemical exposure each year suffered by employees around the nation.  Continue reading

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Every employer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is required have workers’ compensation insurance or be able prove there are enough funds to qualify as a self-bonded entity with an injury fund.  This is usually only the case for state and municipal agencies and does not come up much in the case of private employers.

meQlGDiHowever, some companies choose to have more than one account instead of paying for high limits on a single policy.  These employers have tried to pick and choose which carrier should be liable in the event a worker is injured, but the insurance companies did not like pick and choose approach to dealing with workers’ compensation claims. Continue reading