There is no question we are in the midst of a major opioid abuse epidemic in the U.S. Traditionally, the Greater Boston area always had more problems with heroin abuse as compared to many other areas in the nation. But now we are seeing more and more people struggling with addiction to prescription to painkillers that are opioid based.

While the effects of opioid addiction can be devastating whether a person is addicted to Oxycontin purchased at a local pharmacy or heroin bought in a hand-to-hand transaction on the street, many of those who have become addicted to painkillers started taking them as a result of an on the job injury.

workers' compensation attorney BostonOne thing to keep in mind is that an on the job injury can occur following a single traumatic event. But as our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, a workplace injury can also occur from years of wear and tear on the joints and human body.  We see repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) like carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), but we also see many cases where employees suffer serious back and joint issues as a result of working on a construction site or at other manual labor. These workers tend to be prescribed painkillers and they can become addictive, especially when they are over-prescribed as is a common problem in our area. Continue reading

In cases where an employee is killed while on the job, the family will still have to file a workers’ compensation claim, just as the injured employee would have to do in a non-fatal on-the-job accident case. These cases can result in the payment of past medical expenses, reasonable burial and funeral expenses, and the payment of lost-wage benefits in cases where decedent had minor children living at home, or a spouse who survived the worker who was killed on the job, and was dependent on decedent’s income for support.

Workplace Accidents Boston According to a recent new article from CBS Local Boston, a worker was killed in Sharron when he became trapped in a machine. Authorities have said they were called to the scene of the fatal accident, which occurred at a metal fabrication plant located in the Greater Boston area.  When they arrived there around 9:30 a.m., they found the employee had become trapped in a large metal-cutting machine he was operating. Continue reading

According to a recent news article from WCVB 5 News Boston, fatal Boston work accidents are at the highest levels they have been since 2000, and this is justifiably causing serious concern. This not only includes the City of Boston, but also fatal work accidents in the Greater Boston metro area, including cities such as Cambridge, Newton, Natick, and the north and south shores.

Number of Work-Related Deaths in Boston Metro Area at Near Record Highs

Boston Workplace AccidentsAs discussed in this news article, 75 lives have been lost by workers in the Boston metropolitan area in 2016 alone. In actual numbers, this was an increase in 27 worker fatalities, but in terms of percentages, we are looking at an approximately 56 percent increase from the previous year. Continue reading

In most serious Boston workers’ compensation cases, we have an injured worker who needs to undergo medical treatment, and will also miss considerable time away from work.  These are exactly the type of cases for which the workers’ compensation system in the Commonwealth was established. However, there are also cases in which a worker is killed on the job, and these are also situations where a workers’ compensation claim may be the only appropriate remedy.

Workers’ Compensation as an Exclusive Remedy in Boston Workplace Accident Cases

The workers’ compensation system in Boston, which is codified in Section 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) is designed tworkers' compensationo be an exclusive remedy.  This means if a worker is injured on the job in Boston, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, he or she must file a claim with his or her employer in order to have medical bills and the cost of rehabilitation compensation paid, and to receive any money for lost wages during the time of recovery. In terms of a permanent personal injury, there may be permanent benefits paid as well, but these are the only two types of compensation in most workers’ compensation cases.  There is no recovery for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other types of special damages typically seen in Boston personal injury cases. Continue reading

In most jobs in the Greater Boston area, a worker is an employee of his or her company or boss and there is very little question about that classification.  This is true if you work for hourly wages at a fast food restaurant and it is also true if you are the regional manager for a large company in most cases. The point is, most workers get a paycheck every two weeks or each month and the employer must withhold taxes based upon the allowance claimed by an employee.  At the end of the year, an employee is entitled to a W-2 form declaring to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), what he or she has made each year and how much he or she has already paid in taxes and other federal withholdings. There are however, some occupations where the lines are blurred and the worker may actually be an independent contractor.

Boston Workers' Compensation This matters in Boston workers’ compensation cases because while an employee within the meaning of the statute (Chapter 152, Section 1(1A) of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L)), is entitled to workers’ compensation in the event of an on the job injury or work-related illness, independent contractors are not.  This means if an independent contractor is injured on the job or becomes sick due to a work-related illness, he or she will have to use personal health insurance and will not be compensated for any lost wages due to time missed from work unless he or she has private short or long-term disability insurance. If it is possible to afford such coverage, it is usually a good idea to get it in the even the worker in injured while on the job in Boston. Continue reading

Opioid addiction is a major public health problem in Massachusetts, and tragically, many people become hooked on these powerful painkillers as a result of a workplace accident. workers' compensation attorney Boston

The latest quarterly statistics on opioid-related overdose deaths among Massachusetts residents, as supplied by the state Department of Public Health, reveals there were 1,977 opioid-related deaths in 2017 – slightly lower than the 2,155 reported the previous year but more than the 1,768 reported a year earlier and still 62 percent higher than the number reported five years ago.

Many workers are prescribed these pain medications in the immediate aftermath of a work-related injury in Massachusetts and quickly become addicted. Without adequate pain management, they may die accidentally of a drug overdose. When an employee dies of an overdose as a result of consuming pain medications prescribed after a work injury, the question of compensation is unclear. Some states have tackled this question with mixed results.  Continue reading

Falls on-the-job are among the most common type of injury on construction sites in Boston. They are also often quite serious and sometimes deadly. construction falls

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), keeps detailed records and  statistics of work-related fall injuries.  According to OSHA, the top four most common workplace accidents on construction sites includes falls, which account for 40 percent of all deadly construction accidents. Other top injury causes were workers’ being stuck by objects, workers electrocuted, and workers being caught in between objects vehicles or equipment.  OSHA has dubbed these the “Fatal Four” in terms of all construction accidents resulting in worker deaths in Boston and across the country.

Falls from great heights are more likely than other types of construction accidents to result in death or serious injury. They tend to involve higher medical bills and more time in lost wages. Because the stakes are higher, working with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Boston is imperative.  Continue reading

The supplemental pay (vacation and sick day credits) received by a government worker to offset his income while he was unable to work due to disability should not be considered “regular compensation” that is going to count against him in determining his disability date.

This case, Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission v. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board, before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, is important in terms of helping outline how those types of supplemental income received to help offset workers’ compensation will affect one’s retirement. In general, you typically can’t receive both retirement benefits and workers’ compensation, so workers must choose. As noted by the PERAC (which regulates public pensions per MGL ch. 32), public workers do have the ability to seek disability retirement.

What is Massachusetts Disability Retirement? 

Anytime someone is injured on-the-job in Massachusetts, the first course of action is typically a workers’ compensation claim. Pursuant to MGL c. 152 section 25A, most employers in the Commonwealth are required to purchase workers’ compensation that will provide coverage to employees who are injured at work or contract a job-related illness. This insurance provides no-fault coverage of reasonable and necessary medical treatment and lost wages (after the first five calendar days) or partial or full disability benefits and retaining for those workers who qualify. workers' compensation attorney

However, you may an option to pursue something called third-party liability if another party – not your employer or co-worker – was fully or partially responsible for what happened. If you have grounds to pursue a third-party claim, note that your workers’ compensation insurer and/ or health insurance company may file a lien on whatever you are ultimately awarded. This is allowed so that injured workers’ don’t collect double recovery (i.e., your workers’ comp insurer paid your medical bills and then you are subsequently awarded damages for medical bills in your third-party lawsuit). But that doesn’t mean these cases aren’t worth pursuing. In fact, it’s usually a good idea because third party litigation will allow you to obtain coverage for losses not included in workers’ compensation benefits. These would include things like damages for pain and suffering, full lost wages (workers’ compensation will only pay up to 60 percent of gross average weekly wage for temporary total incapacity benefits for up to 156 weeks, etc.), loss of consortium (for your spouse) and sometimes punitive damages.

That’s not the only difference. While workers’ compensation claimants do not need to prove fault – only that the injury occurred in the course and scope of one’s employment – third party liability lawsuits are just like any other injury lawsuit in that you must prove negligence. In many cases these claims are against contractors or subcontractors, owners of the property on which you were injured (if different from your employer), manufacturers of defective or dangerous tools or motor vehicle operators. Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys will help you review all of your legal options, identify possible defendants and give you a sense of what damages you can reasonably pursue.  Continue reading

When workers suffer from mental disorders or psychiatric injuries as a result of a job-related issue or incident, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include coverage of medical bills for therapy and medication. It could also cover a portion of lost wages if the condition leaves you unable to work. However, these claims are often treated with a high dose of skepticism by employers, insurers, doctors and even courts. workers' compensation

Seasoned Massachusetts work injury lawyers understand how crucial it is to have extensive knowledge of statutory and case law as well as how to assert our clients’ rights vigorously throughout the claims process.

Determining whether mental disorders or psychiatric injuries are work-related can be a tedious process and requires extensive documentation and medical assessment. Mental disorders and psychiatric injuries can be the result of job-related:

  • Stress
  • Bullying
  • Violence
  • Injury

In each of these scenarios, the condition may be compensable under Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws.  Continue reading