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
In this Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation claim, an injured union sheet metal worker represented by Carney Law Firm was awarded Section 34A permanent and total disability benefits. The injured worker, represented by Attorney Brendan G. Carney, initially injured his left knee at work in 1980. He had left knee surgery and returned to work shortly thereafter. Then in 1998, while working on a pitched roof, the worker felt a sharp pain in his left knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery, and returned to work once again after a few months of disability as he recovered from this second left knee surgery. He continued to work as a sheet metal roofer, and then in 2008 his left knee pain returned. He worked through pain, aided by injections, for four more years when his doctor told him he needed a total knee replacement. Because by this point he had worked enough years to qualify for a retirement pension through his union, he retired from work because of his left knee condition. Although his left knee symptoms were clearly all related to his history of work injuries, the worker was not aware that he was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. He consulted with another attorney who was not sure whether there was a viable workers’ compensation claim. That prior attorney contacted our firm for guidance. After a thorough investigation of the injured workers’ medical and employment history, Carney Law Firm agreed to pursue the case. A claim for Section 34 temporary total disability benefits and payment for medical treatment, and then later a claim for Section 34A permanent and total disability benefits were then pursued by our firm. Continue reading
On May 7, 2012 Sylbert Stewart fell from the edge of a dipping tank into a pool of chemicals, while cleaning the top of ventilation ducts in the course of his employment at the Belmont metal finishing factory where he has been employed for fourteen years. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited his employer for three separate violations in connection with the incident. Mr. Stewart sustained second and third degree burns from his thighs to his feet, and doctors removed skin from his back, chest, and arms for skin grafts to wrap around his legs.
Mr. Stewart received temporary total disability benefits through the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system, which pays 60 percent of his wage loss, and the full cost of medical treatment. However, he did not receive compensation for the scarring on his legs, which covers 38 percent of his total body surface. Currently, in order to be compensated for permanent scarring under the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Act a worker’s blemish has to be on the face, neck, or hands. Thus, if workers are disfigured on their arms, legs, or torsos they do not receive compensation. The disfigurement portion of the Act is obviously pro employer and insurer, which simply fails to take into account the burden it places on the daily life of an employee, like Sylbert Stewart. Continue reading
As we turn the clocks forward in anticipation for spring, it will not be easy for Massachusetts’s residents to forget the past few wintry months. This certainly has been a winter to remember here in the New England region, and not for the most pleasant of reasons. Certain areas of Massachusetts have seen over 100 inches of snowfall in less than a month’s time, and the many difficulties it has caused have been well documented. In order to keep up with the rapid accumulation, companies and officials have been rushing to clear snow from roofs and roadways. Thus, Massachusetts’ workers have been exposed to dangerous working conditions that have led to devastating, and sometimes fatal, consequences. Continue reading
The injured employee in the case of James McDonald v. Brand Energy Services, Inc. was a union laborer who had worked and been injured at work several times dating back to 1991. In fact, the employee had injured his back four separate times prior to this particular work injury. With each of the four prior work-related back injuries, the employee received lump sum settlements. His last injury in which he received a lump sum settlement came in the year 2001. Approximately three years after his last work related injury he returned to work against the advice of several doctors in 2004. While employed he did not complete heavy-duty tasks but he did cope with daily pain by taking pain medication while completing lighter assignments. Continue reading
The new year brought new changes to the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administrations’ (“OSHA”) work injury reporting requirements for employers. Prior to January 1, 2015, employers were required to report fatalities occurring at the workplace and incidents that required three or more employees to be hospitalized. Beginning on January 1, 2015, OSHA now requires employers to report any injuries or illnesses that occur at the workplace and require only one employee to be hospitalized. The employer of the injured worker must report the work injury or illness to OSHA within 24 hours of their first knowledge of the hospitalization. Continue reading
OSHA has completed its investigation into the April 2014 crane accident in Bourne, Massachusetts that took the lives of two electrical workers. Two linemen, John Loughran, Jr. and Michael Boyd, both age 34, were tragically killed when the crane truck from which they were working tipped over, causing them to fall more than 150 feet to their death. Both men were working for Massachusetts Bay Electrical Corp.
In late September, OSHA announced the findings of its investigation into the incident and the fines levied on Mass Bay Electric Corp. OSHA, stating that the accident was entirely preventable, has fined the employer $168,000 for two willful violations of workplace safety standards. OSHA found that Massachusetts Bay Electric Corp. did not refer to or use readily available and necessary information that would have allowed the work to be conducted safely, resulting in the loss of two lives. Continue reading
The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has created a health and safety module for employers to follow which is aimed to help reduce workplace injuries to their employees. As OSHA states, employees and employers alike have incentives to maintain a safe workplace. Continue reading
Many Massachusetts and Boston area construction projects require work to be performed outdoors during our region’s harsh winter months. Construction workers are required to work in brutal winter weather conditions, such as extreme cold, snow and ice which can create dangerous working conditions. Because injuries caused by winter weather conditions on construction sites can be costly to both construction companies and construction workers alike, proper safety measures must be followed in order to prevent these injuries. Continue reading