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The Dangers of Road Work in Boston

There is no question that working on the side of a highway or even doing roadwork in downtown Boston can be extremely hazardous.  This is the reason there are so many safety campaigns that urge drivers to slow down in work zones and be careful to assure that nobody is injured or killed.  It is also the reason speeding fines are often doubled in work zones and additional penalties are added.   Most of us have probably noticed the signs warning drivers to slow down because “my mommy works here” or something similar.

construction hatIt is dangerous whether you are working as a heavy equipment operator or some other job, such as being a flagger.  In fact, standing in the middle of the street or road flagging traffic and telling drivers to stop or drive slow is probably one of the most dangerous jobs you can have.  This is true in Boston and just about anywhere else in the country.  
According to a recent news article from the Detroit Free Press, one road worker was killed while patching potholes, and another worker was injured in the same accident.  Authorities have said the accident occurred around 10:30 a.m.  The two workers were walking behind a county maintenance truck that was loaded with asphalt patching material and other needed equipment when they were hit by another vehicle that was traveling behind them.  They were fixing the potholes with shovels of asphalt when the other car crashed into them.

Witnesses say they became pinned between the work truck and the car that hit them.  One of the workers died as a result of his injuries.  The other worker was seriously injured.  Police interviewed the driver of the car that hit the victims to try to determine why the deadly workplace accident occurred, and they had not filed any charges immediately following the crash.

As our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts is considered an exclusive remedy in the vast majority of cases.  This means, if an employee is eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits, he or she cannot not also file a personal injury claim against his or her employer.  It should be noted that it doesn’t mean a worker can forgo filing a workers’ compensation claim and instead file a personal injury case, because the test is whether the employee is eligible.

In the case of a fatal workplace accident in Boston, workers’ compensation is still the exclusive remedy, but there is likely to be a claim for funeral expenses and a more significant lost wages claim, because the worker is not longer around to provide for his or her family.

However, there is an exception to this rule in cases where the accident was caused by the negligence of a third party who is not an employee of the same employer.  The most common example of this is when an employee is injured on the job by a driver who does not work for the company.  In this case, the employee may be able to file for workers’ compensation and file a car accident claim.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Additional Resources:

Road worker killed patching potholes, another injured in Taylor, March 32, 2017, By Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press
More Blog Entries:

Co-Worker Liability for On-the-Job Injury, Feb. 9, 2017, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog