Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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Workers’ compensation is a benefit afforded to almost all employees in Massachusetts, including those who work primarily for tips. While this work arrangement is common in restaurants and other service industry jobs, it can sometimes complicate the question of benefits owed in the event of a work-related injury. restaurant

This is why it’s so important to have an attorney who is experienced in workers’ compensation law to fight not only for the right to benefits, but also for the full amount of benefits you deserve.

In a recent case before the Kentucky Supreme Court, justices were asked to consider whether the administrative law judge who weighed a plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim appropriately calculated her average weekly wage. (This figure is important because it determines how much an injured worker receives in benefits. Massachusetts General Law offers up to 60 percent of a worker’s gross average weekly pay – up to the state maximum – for workers who receive temporary total disability.) Continue reading

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It’s well-known that employees can be compensated for injuries they sustain the course of employment – and that includes medical expenses. However, what if you are injured in the course of receiving treatment for that work injury? Let’s say it is a case of medical malpractice. Should it be your employer that picks up the tab? shoulder

The Wyoming Supreme Court recently took on a case like this, and decided: Yes, but it didn’t apply here. It’s called the second compensable injury rule, and it applies when an initial compensable injury results in an injury or condition that requires additional compensation. Under this rule, a subsequent injury is compensable if it is causally related to the initial work injury that was compensable.

This relates to the general common law theory in Massachusetts under which a tortfeasor liable for the foreseeable consequences of their actions that are caused by subsequent tortfeasors. In layman’s terms, that means the person/ company that caused the original injury can be held responsible for medical malpractice – even if though those injuries weren’t directly a result of the original injury.  Continue reading

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A man shot repeatedly while sitting in a vehicle outside the convenience store where he worked. Now, the state high court in Pennsylvania has ruled that he is indeed eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for those injuries. gun

Judges with the Commonwealth Court ruled the injuries were indeed work-related, noting he was shot shortly after he was threatened by the relatives of a woman he just had arrested for stealing. The state court ruling upheld the finding of a workers’ compensation judge and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. His employer had appealed to the top court in an attempt to try to deny payment for the incident, which happened in May 2008. A big part of the reason the store fought so hard against payment was likely because, as records show, the company didn’t have the required workers’ compensation coverage at the time of the incident. That meant payment for the injury was on the state’s uninsured employer guaranty fund.

The case, although out-of-state, highlights how we define covered injuries in the context of work-related violence. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers workplace violence to be any act or threat of physical violence, intimidation, harassment or other threatening disruptive behavior that happens at work. Approximately 2 million workers in America are victims of this every year. However, not all have an easy time securing workers’ compensation benefits.  Continue reading

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The Ohio Supreme Court considered recently a workers’ compensation case involving two types of disability claimed by the same worker. woman

Although this isn’t a Massachusetts case, it’s worth a look from our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers because sister courts often take into account one another’s decisions in considering similar cases, especially those of first impression.

In this matter, claimant, S.R., was receiving permanent total disability payments on the basis solely of a psychological condition in her workers’ compensation case. However, she later applied for permanent partial disability benefits on the basis of physical conditions on the exact same claim. Should this be allowed? Continue reading

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Occupational diseases are every bit as compensable under Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation law as work-related injuries. However, causation in cases of disease is not always as easily provable. For example, a fall at work can be easily connected to an injury, but how do you prove your carpal tunnel syndrome – which develops over time and not as the result of a single incident – is in fact related to your job, as opposed to some other activity?firefighters

Recently, the Washington Supreme Court took on two cases wherein the industrial board and lower courts took a different approach to the question of proof burdens for causation of occupational disease for two firefighters. Each suffered from a condition called malignant melanoma, which is a cancer of the skin. Research has shown that firefighters have much higher rates of developing many different types of cancer as compared to the general population due to on-the-job exposure to numerous toxins.

In these cases, the question arose regarding the presumption given in favor of the worker that the disease was in fact work-related. Employer/ city had the burden of rebutting that presumption in order to deny benefits. The issue was whether the rebuttal was a factual determination properly given to a jury or a matter of law. In one case, the matter was sent to a jury and in another, the case was decided by a judge. The court ruled such matters should go before a jury, therefore it affirmed the decision in the first claim and reversed in the second. Continue reading

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The greater Boston area has a serious problem with opioid addiction among broad sectors of industry. In some cases, it’s heroin and other illicit street drugs. However, we are also seeing a major problem with an addition to prescription painkillers among injured workers, according to a recent news article from the Lowell Sun.

needleThis statewide problem has gotten to the point where Governor Charlie Baker and his administration have decided to start a two-year pilot program. This pilot program is for workers in Boston and around the Commonwealth who have already settled their workers’ compensation cases. All of the workers who will participate in this program are currently being treated with opioid-based painkillers for their on-the-job injuries. Continue reading

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Millions of Americans are currently suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), and many of these people have never even gone to get an official diagnosis and have never mentioned anything to their respective employers.  Instead, they choose to suffer on their own and will even go so far as to try home remedies or get braces and other types of supportive wraps from a local drug store and continue to suffer at work each day.

wrist-pain-3-1411523However, the pain from carpal tunnel syndrome does not go away at night for many patients. In fact, the pain can get worse throughout the day and keep patients up at night, and this will make the next day at work even worse than the previous one.  Before we discuss what you should do if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, the first thing to do is to take a look at the symptoms and causes of CTS. Continue reading

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Interiano-Lopez v. Tyson Fresh Meats, a case from the Nebraska Supreme Court, involved a claimant who was living in Iowa and working at a meat packing plant in Nebraska.  He had various responsibilities as a result of his employment, but one of his jobs was cutting open the stomachs of cows.  This part of the cow is known as the paunch in the meat packing industry, and the contents of the stomach are supposed to dump out on the factory floor as part of the dump paunch line of production.

death-line-1239945In October 2013, claimant was working on the line with a trainee, and allegedly failed to properly hanging the meat on meat hooks. As a result, pieces of meat kept falling off the hooks as they passed buy the dump paunch line.  In order to cut the paunch, claimant had to lift each piece of meat back onto the hooks in a proper manner, and his arms were getting very tired. Continue reading

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Each winter, many people in Boston will head north to go skiing in Vermont and Maine.  Many will drive a couple of hours north to the big ski areas in southern Vermont like Stratton, and others will drive a bit farther up to Killington, which is a larger mountain and more popular with younger people.  There are even day trips on buses that leave from Boston every weekend in the winter.

spyndleruv-4-1484582While many people travel a great distance to ski in Vermont, there a lot of locals who work there to keep the mountain slopes running. Although there is a possibility of being injured with any job, these workers face some unique work site safety challenges. In cases where workers are injured, workers’ compensation may be paid.
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Employers in Boston and throughout the U.S. will have additional time to make sure they are compliant with the new anti-retaliation rules handed down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).sad1

The agency recently announced it would delay its enforcement of the action, which will have an impact on workplace drug testing and certain safety incentives. Instead of enforcing the action in August, as originally intended, the agency won’t start ensuring those anti-retaliation and record-keeping provisions are in place until November.

The new anti-retaliation rule is part of an effort to block companies from discouraging workers from reporting workplace illnesses or injuries. Continue reading