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In a Boston workers’ compensation claim, there are various types of benefits available to claimants, depending on the facts of the case. These benefits can include money for lost wages and they can also include an award of medical benefits for past and future medical treatment and the cost of rehabilitation.  Rehabilitation will typically include payment for occupational therapy or physical therapy, and possibly mental health counseling.

Boston Workers' Compensation Claims In some workers’ compensation cases, an employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company will do the right thing and not fight valid claims for reasonable medical expenses and lost wages.  However, in other cases, a workers’ compensation insurance company will have claimant go to repeated evaluations at their own doctors, will fight to deny payment for certain treatment and will even delay payments they are already supposed to pay via a settlement or court order. Continue reading

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When we think of workplace injury and workers’ compensation cases in Boston, we typically think of someone being injured at the physical location in which they are employed. This could involve a retail worker who is injured by falling stock, or a hospital worker who is injured while trying to administer aid to patients, but the actual definition of a workplace injury involves an employee being injured while working in furtherance of his employer’s interests.  This is pursuant to Section 1 of Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.), which is our state’s workers’ compensation act.

Acting in Furtherance of Employer’s Interest Means On the Job in Boston Workers’ Compensation Cases

Boston Workers' CompensationIn some cases, an employee who works at a fixed location will be asked to drive somewhere by his or her supervisor or employer. For example, even though a restaurant typically gets food from local or national suppliers via delivery, sometimes the kitchen will run out of a certain item and need it replaced that night.  The kitchen manager or general manager may ask and employee to drive to a local supermarket and pick up a temporary replacement to hold them over until the next scheduled delivery.  While this might seem strange, it actually happens all the time.  If the employee is driving his or her personal vehicle and is injured while making that grocery run, this is considered being on the job for the purpose of a Boston workers’ compensation case. Continue reading

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In a Boston workplace accident, which results in death, an employee’s family will not only be dealing with the loss of a loved one, they will also be dealing with loss of much needed income for many years to come, and this is and important aspect of a workers’ compensation claim. In addition to payment for medical expenses associated with the fatal injury, and reasonable funeral or burial expenses pursuant to Section 33 of Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.), claimants will need to know how the code treats lost wages in a fatal workers’ compensation matter.

Death Benefits in Boston Workers’ Compensation Cases

Boston Workplace Accidents A case in which a worker is killed on the job in Boston is called a death benefits case pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 152, Section 31.  Under Section 31, benefits are to be paid to a worker who has surviving dependents. Surviving dependents are typically a spouse or children of a deceased worker.  In the event of workers’ death, M.G.L. provides payment to surviving dependents if they are “wholly dependent” on support from the deceased worker at the time of his or her death. Continue reading

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In a typical workers’ compensation case in Boston, claimants are generally precluded from filing a civil personal injury lawsuit. This is because the workers’ compensation system was set up as a single-recovery system. That means the only source of financial recovery from an employer following a workplace accident or work-related illness is workers’ compensation.

However, this provision does not pertain to negligent third parties. In other words, if someone who does not work for the same company and not is claimant’s employer shared fault, that person or company can be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. A workers’ compensation insurer may put a lien on certain damages you might recover from this third-party lawsuit, but most claimants receive more in civil litigation than they do from workers’ compensation.

Boston Workers' CompensationIn these cases, a claimant must first file a workers’ compensation claim with his or her employer, and must do so in a timely manner pursuant to Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.), and then can settle the matter with the negligent third party, their insurance company, or in the event a settlement cannot be reached, file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent third party. Continue reading

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Construction projects both large and small are often the site for serious and potentially deadly workplace accidents in the Greater Boston area.  Some of these accidents are the fault of employers (typically a general contractor or a subcontractor), while others are due to the possible negligent actions of the employee. Finally, some accidents are accidents in the colloquial sense of the word and are not really anyone’s fault. The good news for the injured worker and his or her family is that fault is not generally relevant in Boston workers’ compensation cases. This is due mainly to how and why workers’ compensation law was drafted in Massachusetts.

Boston workplace injury Interestingly, it was employers who first pushed for what we know today as the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. While the name implies it was designed to compensate workers, it was the employers who wanted to limit their exposure to personal injury lawsuits from employees who claimed they were injured on the job or suffered a work-related illness. This is because they are additional damages (financial compensation) available in a personal injury lawsuit that are not available in a workers’ compensation case.  Continue reading

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In a typical workers’ compensation case in Boston, benefits include compensation for lost wages during the time a worker cannot go back to work, full or part-time, and payment for medical bills and rehabilitation expenses. There is no provision for pain and suffering damages as there are in personal injury cases.  However, pursuant to Chapter 152, Section 36 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.), there is the possibility of the payment of lump-sum damages when an employee suffers certain types of injuries that are known as Specific Injuries in the state’s workers’ compensation act.

workers' compensation lawyerThese specific injuries can include accidents that result in the amputation one or more arms, legs, toes, fingers, hands and feet, as well as those that result in loss of an eye or loss of vision and other serious permanent injuries such as ones that result in some types of permanent scarring or disfigurement.  There are, however, special requirements for obtaining Specific Injury compensation when the injuries involving scarring alone, such as the location of the scars. Continue reading

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When an employee is on the job in Boston and is assaulted by a co-worker, the injured worker is generally prohibited by the Workers’ Compensation Act codified in Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) from filing a civil lawsuit.  This is because an injured employee has the remedy of filing for workers’ compensation and this what is known as an exclusive remedy.  There are some cases where an injured employee can file a claim for workers’ compensation and then file a lawsuit against a negligent or intentional tortfeasor, but these cases involved a tortfeasor who is not an employer of coworker.  In these cases, the tortfeasor must be a bona fide third party such as customer or a vendor.

Boston Workers' Compensation According to a recent news article from NECN, a constructor has been arrested after assaulting a coworker in Boston.  Authorities say the defendant assaulted his coworker on a construction project and then allegedly tried to cover up the attack.  The specific charges included witness intimidation, obstruction of justice, and aggravated assault and battery.  He was arraigned along with a co-defendant who was charged with being an accessory after the fact and the same charges as the alleged assailant. Continue reading

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In Boston, a worker injured on the job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits so long as they are an employee within the meaning of the the workers’ compensation act found in Chapter 152, Section 1 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L).  The question that often arises is whether the worker was actually on-the-job at the time of the injury.  This can be even more complex when the employee is given a company-owned vehicle or when the injury occurs in the parking lot of the worker’s place of employment.

In the context of company-owned vehicles, some jobs offer the “benefit” of a take home car, meaning the employee can drive the business’s car home at the end of a shift and take it back the next day.  This is not so much a “company car” as we see on TV with high-paying jobs, but more like a police car or other type of service vehicle.

Boston workplace InjuriesAccording to a recent news article from NECN, a worker employed by the City of Boston was sitting in a vehicle owned by his employer, the city, when someone approached and shot him.  Authorities have said the injured worker was in his neighborhood at the time of the shooting on his way to work and is a 54-year-old man who works for Department of Public Works (DPW).  Continue reading

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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