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Recently, Brendan G. Carney of Carney Law Firm was able to successfully negotiate a lump sum settlement of a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation claim in the amount of $825,000.00.  This settlement was reached on behalf of our client, a forty one year old woman who was working as a bank branch manager when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident while traveling from an offsite bank meeting back to her regular bank office.  The employee suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury that would render her permanently and totally disabled.  In addition to the lump sum settlement, Carney Law Firm was able to obtain an additional $218,000.00 in permanent loss of function benefits.  The employee had received weekly benefits for over three years prior to the settlement. The total recovery for the employee exceeded $1,200,000.00. Continue reading

car-crash-3-1512740“No-Fault” Insurance Coverage

“PIP” stands for “Personal Injury Protection” and it is mandatory in Massachusetts as part of every driver’s insurance coverage pursuant to M.G.L. c.90 Sec. 34M.

The purpose of PIP is to help pay up to $8,0000 for medical costs, lost wages, funeral costs and household services incurred as a result of an injury from a car crash, regardless of who is at fault for causing the motor vehicle collision.

That means that it doesn’t matter whether you were responsible for causing the accident, or if someone else was, the “PIP” benefits are still available from the car insurance provider for those who qualify.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision, you will likely receive forms from insurance companies called “PIP Applications.”  This can be an overwhelming process for people who are already dealing with injuries from a car accident.  At the Carney Law Firm, we have experience attorneys who can represent you to help coordinate and facilitate the documentation and process.

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Injured by a Forklift?

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Forklift, or Powered Industrial Truck (“P.I.T.”), injuries are very common in the construction industry for both drivers and nearby workers.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an estimated 85 deaths result each year as a result of forklift operation accidents, as well as almost 35,000 serious injuries and almost 62,000 non-serious injuries per year.  In the U.S., 1 in every 6 workplace deaths occur in forklift related incidents.

With roughly 856,000 total forklifts in the United States, this means that approximately 1 in 9 forklifts will be involved in an accident that results in injury or death.  Further, the Industrial Truck Association estimates the average use for the life of a forklift or P.I.T. is approximately 8 years.  Taking this factor into consideration, a fair projection calculates that almost 90% of forklifts will be involved in an incident that results in a worker getting injured over the course of the lifetime of the forklift.  At the Carney Law Firm, we have skilled and dedicated attorneys who are experienced representing people with personal injury and workers’ compensation claims resulting from forklift accidents.

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Massachusetts’ workers who have suffered serious work related injuries and occupational diseases must often times make the important decision as to whether or not to accept an offer a lump sum settlement of their workers’ compensation claim.  Typically when an injured worker is either at or near maximum medical improvement, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will contact the injured worker or their attorney to discuss the possibility of settling the claim.  There are many important factors to consider when determining if a settlement is in the best interest of the injured worker. Before addressing those important issues, first I want to define some important terms: Continue reading

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Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court

On June 4, 2019, a Middlesex County jury awarded the Plaintiff, Benjamin Roy, a total of $925,000.00, which was reduced by 26% to $684,500.00 for the comparative negligence of Mr. Roy.  With interest, the final judgment amounted to $828,301.18.

On February 5, 2015, Mr. Roy, age 37, was working as a foreman for a framing contractor Shawnlee Construction at the construction of an Avalon apartment complex in Marlborough, MA.  Shawnlee Construction had subcontracted a portion of the framing work to the Defendant Freitas Corporation.  Later in the day, while inspecting the work of the Defendant, Mr. Roy fell through an unguarded opening onto a concrete floor 8-9 feet below, causing him to fracture his right calcaneus (heel bone).  Mr. Roy alleged negligence on the part of Defendant Freitas Corporation, namely that Freitas was responsible for installing guardrails in his work area to protect workers from heights of greater than six feet, per OSHA regulations.  The Defendant denied that he had failed to install guardrails at any time on this construction project.  The evidence presented at trial established that Shawnlee Construction had been having issues with the Defendant adhering to industry safety rules on several prior occasions, including issues with failing to install guardrails in other areas of the construction project.  The Defendant also alleged that Mr. Roy was to blame for his injuries because Mr. Roy was looking up at the ceiling at the time that he walked off the edge of the hole in the floor.  Mr. Roy testified that as part of his job duties, he was responsible for inspecting the work in the ceiling and expected that the Defendant had installed stairs in the hole in which he ultimately fell, and if he hadn’t, that he would have put up a guardrail around the floor opening. Continue reading

Do’s:

  • Always report your Injury. This sounds basic but it does not always happen and can create big problems down the road.  Report your injury to your foreman, steward, business agent, general contractor, supervisor or H.R. professional immediately, regardless of whether or not you think it is only a minor injury and you can continue working.   Often times injured workers do not report their injuries immediately, because they think that it is not a serious injury and they should “be fine by tomorrow.”  If your injury turns out to be more serious than initially thought, the failure to immediately report is likely to lead to the worker’s compensation insurer denying the claim.
  • Take photographs of the dangerous condition or defective equipment that caused your injury. Use your cellphone to take photographs that can later help prove you were injured on the job and may also be evidence for a third-party negligence claim.  It is important to document that dangerous condition that caused the injury.

Employer accused of flouting OSHA regs; $2.2 million settlement

The claimant was the spouse of one of two laborers killed when a trench in which they were working collapsed and flooded at a home renovation project in Boston’s South End in October 2016.The deceased was survived by his then-53-year-old spouse, three adult children, and three dependent grandchildren. The insurer initiated payment of weekly Section 31 death benefits.

Former NFL football player Reggie Bush recently obtained a $12.5 million-dollar jury award against the Saint Louis Rams in a third-party negligence claim arising out of a 2015 knee injury suffered during a game. Tort law, which includes negligence claims, was designed to not only to fairly compensate those who suffered injuries caused by the negligence of others, but also to deter conduct that is unreasonably risky or dangerous. The size of this verdict should not only compensate Bush, but should also serve as a financial deterrent to other professional sports teams who allow opposing players to work in unreasonably dangerous conditions.  This jury verdict for Bush should help promote safer working conditions for all professional athletes. Continue reading

Often times, in the course of a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim, lump sum settlement negotiations will occur.  This typically occurs after the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement (medical treatment has been completed), the injured worker has permanent physical restrictions that will cause a wage loss, and/or after an Administrative Judge has issued a conference order or hearing decision.  However, there is nothing that you or your attorney can do to force the workers’ compensation insurer to agree to a lump sum settlement.  Likewise, there is nothing a workers’ compensation insurer can do to force an injured worker to accept a lump sum settlement.  A settlement is only achieved if both the insurance company and the employee agree to a certain figure.  In most claims, an employer must consent to their insurance company making a settlement offer to an injured employee.  A judge cannot order or set a lump sum settlement amount. Continue reading

If you are injured and it is due in part or in whole to someone else’s negligence, then you may have a personal injury case. Negligence is generally defined as a failure to use reasonable care. If you were hurt because someone else failed to use reasonable care, you may have a personal injury case.

If you were injured while at work you may also have a workers’ compensation case. Workers’ compensation is paid for by your employer’s insurance. The purpose of worker’s compensation is to provide an injured worker with a portion of his or her lost wages and to pay for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the work injury. Personal injury cases differ from workers’ compensation because personal injury cases are intended to compensate you for the full amount of medical expenses, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering

A personal injury case is brought against the person or entity who is fully or partially responsible for causing your injury. Examples of personal injury cases include if you were hurt on a construction site, in a motor vehicle crash, or in a slip and fall injury on a defective walkway or on snow and ice.  Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation laws do not allow an injured worker to bring a personal injury case against their employer or a co-employee.  They are limited to workers’ compensation benefits.  Injured workers may, however, be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and also have a personal injury case arising out of the same injury if a negligent third party (a person or entity other than the employer of the injured worker) caused or contributed to their injuries.  An example would be a construction worker who is injured while working for a trade contractor, and was injured due to the negligence of the construction project’s general contractor. Continue reading

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