Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Immigrant workers and Massachusetts employee advocates are demanding the passage of a bill aiming to protect injured employees from workplace retaliation (including deportation threat) for reporting on-the-job injuries.Boston workers' compensation

SD1182/HD2947 would limit companies’ ability to work their way out of paying Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits by reporting employees who are not U.S. citizens. It’s called An Act to Protect Injured Workers.

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys know that these benefits are critical to those hurt at work, allowing them coverage of medical bills and a portion of their lost wages when they can’t work due to job-related injury or illness. The concept is more than 100-years-old in Boston, with workers forfeiting their right to pursue legal action against employers for negligence resulting in work injury in exchange for employers agreeing to a no-fault compensation system wherein workers can receive help so long as they can show their injuries happened in the course and scope of employment. Continue reading

Massachusetts construction companies are focusing on the risks created by opioid use and addiction and the role these drugs play in work injuries.

The Massachusetts chapter of Associated General Contractors sponsored a statewide opioid awareness day on June 5, to draw attention to the impact the opioid crisis is having on the construction industry in New England. Workplace overdoses have increased by 25 percent each year for the last 5 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unintentional overdose is now responsible for 5 percent of all workplace deaths, claiming nearly 300 lives each year.

Opioid addiction was declared a public health emergency in 2017, after the Centers for Disease Control reported opioid deaths surpassed motor-vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. However, construction workers face some of the highest risks.  Construction workers are at six times greater risk that the average Massachusetts worker, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and now account for 25 percent of workplace opioid deaths. Boston Workers' Comp

AGC has produced a manual to help contractors identify and mitigate the use of opioids at construction sites. Common signs include constricted or “pinpoint pupils,” falling asleep or losing consciousness, slow or shallow breathing, choking or gurgling sounds, blue or cold skin, and limp extremities.

Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers know many construction workers become addicted to painkillers while seeking legitimate treatment for work-related injuries. In some cases, a doctor or medical professional may have inappropriately prescribed potent narcotics for too long a period of time. In other cases, a medical professional may withhold or eliminate a patient’s access to pain medication, forcing injured or addicted workers to turn to street narcotics to manage the pain. Prescription opioids may include hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine, while illicit opioids most commonly include heroin and fentanyl.

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Media outlets are marking the 100th anniversary of Boston’s deadly molasses flood, which tore through the city’s North End, killing 21 and injuring another 150.refinery-300x204

The Washington Post reports the rivets on a 50-foot-high storage tank began punching through the crisp January afternoon in staccato bursts. I dull roar followed as 2.3 million gallons of molasses engulfed the Boston waterfront in a tidal wave 25-feet high and 160-feet wide. Traveling at 35 miles an hour, the wave tore through the North End, crumbling small structures and knocking the firehouse off its foundation. Several city workers drowned while eating lunch outside, and a pair of 10-year-old boys were swept away in the flood.

Investigation in the aftermath revealed area residents had noticed the tank had started to leak through the summer months. Instead of repairing the tank, the company promptly painted it rust brown, making the leaking molasses virtually invisible. While the incident has reached legendary status primarily because of the sticky mess it left behind, Massachusetts injury lawyers know it was also a key incident that put the nation’s focus on corporate America’s obligation to the safety of workers and surrounding communities.

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Opioid addiction is a major public health problem in Massachusetts, and tragically, many people become hooked on these powerful painkillers as a result of a workplace accident. workers' compensation attorney Boston

The latest quarterly statistics on opioid-related overdose deaths among Massachusetts residents, as supplied by the state Department of Public Health, reveals there were 1,977 opioid-related deaths in 2017 – slightly lower than the 2,155 reported the previous year but more than the 1,768 reported a year earlier and still 62 percent higher than the number reported five years ago.

Many workers are prescribed these pain medications in the immediate aftermath of a work-related injury in Massachusetts and quickly become addicted. Without adequate pain management, they may die accidentally of a drug overdose. When an employee dies of an overdose as a result of consuming pain medications prescribed after a work injury, the question of compensation is unclear. Some states have tackled this question with mixed results.  Continue reading

Anytime someone is injured on-the-job in Massachusetts, the first course of action is typically a workers’ compensation claim. Pursuant to MGL c. 152 section 25A, most employers in the Commonwealth are required to purchase workers’ compensation that will provide coverage to employees who are injured at work or contract a job-related illness. This insurance provides no-fault coverage of reasonable and necessary medical treatment and lost wages (after the first five calendar days) or partial or full disability benefits and retaining for those workers who qualify. workers' compensation attorney

However, you may an option to pursue something called third-party liability if another party – not your employer or co-worker – was fully or partially responsible for what happened. If you have grounds to pursue a third-party claim, note that your workers’ compensation insurer and/ or health insurance company may file a lien on whatever you are ultimately awarded. This is allowed so that injured workers’ don’t collect double recovery (i.e., your workers’ comp insurer paid your medical bills and then you are subsequently awarded damages for medical bills in your third-party lawsuit). But that doesn’t mean these cases aren’t worth pursuing. In fact, it’s usually a good idea because third party litigation will allow you to obtain coverage for losses not included in workers’ compensation benefits. These would include things like damages for pain and suffering, full lost wages (workers’ compensation will only pay up to 60 percent of gross average weekly wage for temporary total incapacity benefits for up to 156 weeks, etc.), loss of consortium (for your spouse) and sometimes punitive damages.

That’s not the only difference. While workers’ compensation claimants do not need to prove fault – only that the injury occurred in the course and scope of one’s employment – third party liability lawsuits are just like any other injury lawsuit in that you must prove negligence. In many cases these claims are against contractors or subcontractors, owners of the property on which you were injured (if different from your employer), manufacturers of defective or dangerous tools or motor vehicle operators. Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys will help you review all of your legal options, identify possible defendants and give you a sense of what damages you can reasonably pursue.  Continue reading

When workers suffer from mental disorders or psychiatric injuries as a result of a job-related issue or incident, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include coverage of medical bills for therapy and medication. It could also cover a portion of lost wages if the condition leaves you unable to work. However, these claims are often treated with a high dose of skepticism by employers, insurers, doctors and even courts. workers' compensation

Seasoned Massachusetts work injury lawyers understand how crucial it is to have extensive knowledge of statutory and case law as well as how to assert our clients’ rights vigorously throughout the claims process.

Determining whether mental disorders or psychiatric injuries are work-related can be a tedious process and requires extensive documentation and medical assessment. Mental disorders and psychiatric injuries can be the result of job-related:

  • Stress
  • Bullying
  • Violence
  • Injury

In each of these scenarios, the condition may be compensable under Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws.  Continue reading

According to a recent news article from CBS News, a worker was killed on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. died in what investigators are calling a freak accident.  The worker was a pipefitter employed in the Maintenance Division of the Capitol Grounds.  He had been working in this capacity for many years.

TreeAuthorities say the fatal workplace accident occurred a few minutes after 9 a.m. when a massive branch fell off an American oak tree.  Victim was working on some irrigation pipes near the tree when the branch snapped off and landed on him.  As there is no shortage of police on the Capitol grounds, it did not take long for first responders to arrive. Continue reading

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

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

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