Articles Posted in Boston Work Accidents

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

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? 

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

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

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

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

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