Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

joshua-mancini-6fegAz1Us5U-unsplash-scaledIn the construction industry, there is a general rule of thumb often referred to as the “6-foot rule.”  The “6-foot rule” typically is applied to major commercial construction projects, as well as smaller residential construction projects, amongst others.  Essentially, the 6-foot rule requires employers to implement the use of fall protection when construction workers are working at heights of 6 feet or greater above a lower level.

At the Carney Law Firm, our attorneys have fought hard and successfully represented injured construction workers who were injured due to a “6-foot rule” safety violation. Recently, Attorneys Jeremy M. Carroll and Brendan G. Carney obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $925,000 for an injured construction worker who fell 10 feet because there was no fall protection.

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On October 29, 2020, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued its ruling in Mark Mendes’s Case, No. SJC-12857, which held that the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents has subject matter jurisdiction over a claim involving an interstate truck driver based on his employment having “sufficient significant contacts” with Massachusetts.  This opinion expands Massachusetts’ jurisdiction over workers’ compensation claims, where in the past they were limited to circumstances where:

  1. The employee was employed by a Massachusetts employer; or
  2. The employee was injured while working in Massachusetts; or
  3. The employment contract was executed in Massachusetts.

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No. Typically, you do not pay a personal injury or a workers’ compensation attorney out-of-pocket.  At the Carney Law Firm, we focus on personal injury and workers’ compensation cases which operate on what is called a “contingency” fee.   A “contingency fee” means that we only get paid if we get you compensation, which typically occurs through either a negotiated settlement, mediation, arbitration, or a jury trial verdict.

Why Not?

The reason for a “contingency fee” is to be able to provide legal representation to injured workers and injured people from all levels of income.  If personal injury or workers’ compensation attorneys required clients to pay attorney fees out-of-pocket, only wealthy people would be able to afford an attorney when they are hurt. Injured workers and people from all income levels deserve an attorney to fight for them and to represent them for injuries that never should have occurred. Here at the Carney Law Firm, we take pride in fighting for injured workers and people who are injured needlessly due to safety violations which occur in construction sites, motor vehicle collisions, and many other types of dangerous situations.

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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

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

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.

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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