According to a recent news article from ABC, a man who was fired from a business in Cambridge, Massachusetts returned to the business early one morning and waited for his former coworker to arrive.
Authorities say he had a 12-gauge shotgun with him and ambushed this former coworker and attempted to shoot at point blank range. His intended target was supposedly involved in some way in the decision that led to his termination. The victim was able to use his briefcase as a shield, and it actually absorbed the shotgun pellets. However, some of the pellets hit the building next to him and shattered the concrete, causing injuries, which are not believed to be life-threatening, but were substantial enough for him to be taken to the hospital.
After the man shot the gun at his former coworker, other employees showed up to the job site, and this caused the gunman to retreat back to his car, where it is alleged that he killed himself with the shotgun. Authorities have not released the name of the company for which the gunman and victim worked, and while the location is known, there are multiple independent businesses that rent space there.
In a typical personal injury case, it might be difficult to prove an employer was responsible for the conduct of a former employee who engaged in assault upon a current employee. However, pursuant the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act as applicable to cases in Cambridge, it is not necessary to prove that an employer was responsible, but only that the victim was an employee within the statutory meaning, and that the injury was work-related.
The reason for this is because the Massachusetts compensation system is a no-fault system. This was created, as it is in most states, to strike a balance between the needs of the employer and those of the employee. The benefit to the employer is that he or she will obtain workers’ compensation insurance at a set rate and will know how much it will cost to cover all employees in the case of an on-the-job injury or work-related illness. The employer is therefore mostly immune from a personal injury lawsuit, because if a worker is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, he or she is barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit against his or her employer.
The question is not whether an employee actually files for workers’ compensation, but whether or not he or she is eligible to file for workers’ compensate benefits. Again, an injured worker is eligible if they are a statutory employee and the injury or illness occurred on the job.
The benefit to the employee is that there is no need to prove negligence, and there will likely be a much quicker workers’ compensation benefits settlement than there would be in a personal injury lawsuit.
It should be noted that there is a difference in the type of damages, as in a workers’ compensation action, the benefits can provide compensation for lost wages, past and future medical expenses, and, in the case of a fatal on-the-job accident, funeral expenses. Pain and suffering are not available.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Fired Massachusetts Man Ambushes Co-Worker Then Shoots Self, April 7, 2016, ABC News, AP Wire
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Opioid Use in Boston Workers’ Compensation Cases Posing Serious Health Threat, April 10, 2016, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog