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Workers’ compensation is designed as no-fault system within which it should be fairly easy for an injured worker to obtain benefits for lost wages and medical expenses. In practice, however, things are not always so easy since we are not only dealing with employers, but with workers’ compensation insurance companies. Like many insurers, workers’ compensation insurers have a habit of minimizing payouts by denying and delaying claims to the fullest extent possible.

This issue was recently weighed by journalists for the Civil Beat Honolulu. Writers describe a workers’ compensation system that is in many ways broken.

Boston Workers' CompAccording to the report, an injured worker who has been trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare that is the workers’ compensation system there since he was injured on-the-job. He was working on a construction project in which he was required to handle wet concrete. He was on a raised platform with a concrete pouring hose when the weather turned bad. Due to wet conditions, he fell to the ground and severely damaged his knee. He was in incredible pain. This on the job accident occurred 10 years ago, and he’s still fighting with the workers’ compensation insurer. Continue reading

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Employee misclassification can cause serious problems for injured workers in Boston.  This issue is becoming even more prevalent as we find ourselves in what is being called, “the gig economy.”

The term is used to describe people who do not a have a traditional steady job, and instead work to earn a living by taking “gigs” that become available online. Although the phrase isn’t new (musicians have long been fond of it), it has taken on a new meaning. Today a gig can include driving for ride sharing services like Uber, signing up to perform handyman type jobs on demand and a variety of other activities such as writing articles for news services.

workers' compensation lawyer BostonEmployers are happy with this arrangement because it means they can get people to do work for them, while also avoiding the time and expense associated with having a traditional employees. There is typically no need to withhold taxes, provide healthcare or extend other benefits. Politicians also like this because these gig workers are earning money and considered employees for the purposes of state and federal unemployment numbers.  Continue reading

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These days it seems like so-called active shooter incidents are occurring more frequently than ever before, given that Americans own an estimated 265 million firearms.  Aside from the intentional acts of terror, there are accidental shootings being reported in the media as well.  If an accidental shooting occurs on-the-job, any injuries may require a workers’ compensation claim be filed if the injured worker is to receive any compensation and medical benefits following the workplace shooing.

workplace Injury BostonAccording to a recent news article from CBS Boston, what was first reported as a leg injury at a local college ultimately turned out to be caused by a worker who allegedly accidentally discharged his weapon in such a manner that harmed his coworker. The school has said it did not release information about the shooting earlier because they were asked not to do so by investigators until the investigation was complete and denies that they engaged in any type of cover-up.  Continue reading

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Working in a factory can be a dangerous job.  There are a lot of ways to get injured including slip and fall accidents, machine guarding accidents, heavy equipment accidents and falling inventory.  In some cases, there is a catastrophic failure at the factory such as one recently reported by Fox News where a cosmetics factory exploded resulting in one death and over 125 workers injured.

Boston workers' compAuthorities have said there were actually two separate explosions that occurred before cosmetics factory went up in flames.  Some of the injured were firefighters that were responding to the massive blaze. Once the injured had been triaged on the scene and taken to local hospitals, a count was taken and one worker was reported missing.  As investigators and first responders were combing through the wreckage, they discovered the remains of the missing worker.  He was 57-years-old at the time of his death. Continue reading

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When we think of workplace injuries in terms of Boston workers’ compensation cases, we are generally dealing with some type of accident. In many cases, it is simply an accident that was not anyone’s fault.  In some cases, the accident is actually the result of an employer’s negligence.  There is really is no distinction with respect to workers’ compensation cases because Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L) established a no-fault system.  There is however, a third category of workplace injuries where one worker is physically assaulted by an other employee, customer, or third-party criminal.

Boston workplace Injuries These situations happen more frequently than you might assume.  There are a lot of assaults between employees in jobs in Boston and across the nation. While there are the high profile cases involving active shooter situations that occur from time to time, we are generally talking about one worker punching another.  Contrary to what many people think and see in the movies, a single punch can result in serious injury or even death. Continue reading

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Opioid addiction has become a major epidemic in Boston and across the U.S.  It is also become a hot topic for politicians and media outlets. While Massachusetts has long suffered from a major problem with heroin addiction,  many times it begins with workers injured on the job who start taking painkillers such as opioids like Vicodin and Oxycontin.  Once these injured workers become hooked on painkillers, the habit is often very difficult kick, even once the drugs are no longer medically necessary to fight the pain from the initial injury.

Boston workers' compensation lawyerIn an effort to address this issue, as discussed in a recent news article from the Union Leader, New Hampshire is looking to follow Massachusetts’ lead with respect to the two-year pilot program they started to get injured workers off dangerous and addictive opioids.  Continue reading

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Boston and the surrounding areas in New England are known for extremely cold winters with temperatures that fall below zero, but it is the strong winds that often wreak the most havoc on our area.  We are regularly dealing with blocked streets and power outages due to downed trees. This causes road hazards, but it can also knock out heat, which can be a deadly problem.  While most of us of would rather stay inside during the worst of the winter weather, the many tree workers in Boston must brave the worst conditions. It’s a very dangerous job that can result in serious personal injury of even death.  For these workers and their families, a Boston workers’ compensation case is often the only remedy available for financial recovery.

Workers’ Compensation Benefit Types

workers' compensationIn a Boston workers’ compensation case, the type of benefits will depend on the extent of the injuries, and the amount of time it will take a worker to recover, or if the injuries are likely to be permanent.   Depending on the extent and duration of the injuries, possible benefits in a Boston workers’ compensation are as follows:

  • Lost wages
    • Permanent Partial Impairment
    • Permanent Total Impairment
    • Temporary Partial Impairment
    • Permanent Total Impairment
  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Occupational therapy expenses
  • Burial expenses in fatal workplace accidents or illness cases
  • Damages for Specific Injuries

Continue reading

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When a worker is injured on-the-job in Boston, he or she should immediately report the injury to a supervisor or the employer.  And if that worker desires to be compensated for medical bills, the cost of rehabilitation including physical or occupational therapy, and to recover for lost wages due to time away from work, the only course of action in most to cases is to promptly file a workers’ compensation claim.

One issue that often arises is when the claimant has a pre-existing condition aggravated by a work-related injury.

Categories of Workplace Injuries in Boston

workers' compensation lawyerThere are two main categories of workplace injuries in Boston workers’ compensation cases. One category of workplace injuries involves damage caused by a single traumatic event.  For example, if an employee is working in the stockroom of a big box store, there is a good chance someone else will be be moving around with a pallet jack or forklift.  If the employee is working in the back and a pallet jack runs over his foot, the heavy metal casters with a heavy pallet sitting on top could easily break a toe or other bones in the foot if the worker is not wearing a steel-toed shoe or boot.  This type of accident happens all the time.  The United States Department of Labor (DOL) keeps detailed statistics on pallet jack injuries in the U.S., and as we can see from the data, some of these resulted in amputations. Continue reading

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When a worker is killed on the job, many do not realize that workers’ compensation is still the appropriate – and maybe only – remedy for surviving family members to obtain compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses and lost wages. Pursuant to Chapter 152, of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L), all of these types of recovery are available, however there is no possibility to recovery damages for pain and suffering unless there is a third-party defendant. Examples of this would be:

  • A worker killed in a car accident caused by another negligent driver;
  • A worker killed in a construction accident wherein the owner of the property (or other party aside from employer) was negligent;
  • A worker killed in an accident involving a defective product or defective vehicle.

work accidents BostonAccording to a recent news article from the Boston Globe, a man was killed in South Boston when he was on top of a crane. The construction site accident occurred around rush hour in front of crowds of passersby and other construction workers. Continue reading

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According to a recent news report from NBC News, a man was working on constructing prototypes for President Trump’s planned wall between the U.S. and Mexico border.  While there is no funding for an actual wall at this time, there was funding already in the budget for border security that is being used to construct a series of prototype walls that are supposed to be helpful in deciding on how to construct the actual border wall should U.S. Congress approve funding.

Boston Workers' CompWhile this worker was helping to construct one of the prototypes, he lost his footing and fell into a 40 foot deep hole.  According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), the accident was the workers’ fault because he was allegedly not paying attention and fell into the deep hole.  Somehow, the man was not injured in the accident.  Other construction workers were able to pull him out using a construction hoist and he was back on his feet in no time.  Once the worker was back on his feet and there was no need to stop construction work as nobody was injured.  This was one of four prototype walls that are being constructed for feasibility testing. Continue reading