Articles Tagged with Boston Construction Accident Lawyer; Lowell Construction Accident Lawyer

While the overall intention of Governor Baker’s opioid bill appears to be positive for those in Massachusetts dealing with chronic pain and opioid dependency, it contains a section that would be harmful to injured workers who rely on Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation insurance to pay for their prescription medication.  Section 39 of the Governor’s opioid bill would establish drug formularies in all workers’ compensation cases (not just those involving the prescription and use of opioids) and for all medications.  Section 39 of House Bill No. H-4033 states:

SECTION 39. Chapter 152 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after the following section:

             Section 13 ½. The department shall establish a formulary of clinically appropriate medications, including opioids and related medications, and shall promulgate regulations for the administration of this formulary.  In establishing the formulary, the department shall consult with the health care services board and the drug formulary commission established in section 13 of chapter 17 of the General Laws.  The formulary shall be based on well-documented, evidence-based methodology, and the department shall include as part of the formulary a complete list of medications that are approved for payment under this chapter, and any specific payment, prescribing, or dispensing controls associated with the drugs on the list.  The department shall review and update, if necessary, the formulary at least once every 2 years.

          Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation insurance pays for any medical treatment, tests, procedures and prescription medication that is “reasonable, necessary” and “causally related” to your work injury.  The workers’ compensation insurer will not automatically pay for these medical benefits.  Your medical provider MUST follow certain guidelines in order for the workers’ compensation insurer to pay for your medical treatment or prescriptions.  Here is the general process for your medical provider to follow in order to get your medical treatment and prescription medication approved by workers’ compensation: Continue reading

All Massachusetts weekly workers’ compensation benefits are based off of the average weekly wage of the injured worker.

How Is Average Weekly Wage Figured?

The calculation of average weekly wage is always based upon the employee’s gross earnings. If the employee has worked a full year prior to the injury, one averages the full 52 weeks prior to the injury. These gross earnings include such things as bonuses, vacation time, overtime, and commissions. The value of fringe benefits, such as health insurance, are not added in to the earnings. Total earnings in the 52 week period are divided by 52 to get the average weekly wage. If an employee has worked less than 52 weeks, the number of weeks actually worked will be divided into the gross earnings. For workers who have worked only a very few weeks, the calculations for average wage may be based upon a fellow employee who had worked for the same employer doing the same work for a longer period of time. A list of the maximum weekly compensation rates over the past ten (10) years is found below.

MAXIMUM RATES
Injury On or After Maximum Weekly Benefit
10/1/03
10/1/04
10/1/05
10/1/06
10/1/07
10/1/08
10/1/09
10/1/10
10/1/11
10/1/12
10/1/13
10/1/14
10/1/15

$884.46
$918.78
$958.58
$1,000.43
$1,043.54
$1,093.27
$1,094.70
$1,088.06
$1,135.82
$1,173.82
$1,181.28
$1,214.99
$1,256.47

What If I Work More Than One Job?

In cases where an employee has more than one job, his wages from both jobs can be included in the computation for workers’ compensation if both jobs are jobs covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation system. This essentially means that both jobs must be ones that are for legitimate employers who are deducting taxes from the employee’s wages and reporting income to the government, and have a policy providing workers’ compensation coverage. This situation is called concurrent employment and can substantially increase weekly benefits to the injured employee.

Section 34/Temporary Total Disability Benefits

In Massachusetts, workers are entitled to weekly temporary total disability benefits if they are unable to perform any job. It should be noted that inability to do one’s former job is not necessarily enough. Continue reading

Often times unsafe working conditions at construction sites cause injuries to construction workers who are employed at the project.  However, a recent jury verdict awarding over $18 Million to the operator of a motor vehicle who was caused to lose control of his vehicle, crash and suffer injuries resulting in partial paralysis highlights the dangers that unsafe construction sites can pose to not only the construction workers, but also to the entire community surrounding the construction site.

In this case, the plaintiff was operating his motor vehicle when it struck a raised expansion joint, causing him to lose control of his car, leave the roadway and strike an adjacent stone wall and utility pole.  The defendant construction company had been performing work on the roadway and had left loose gravel and other debris within the traveling lane.  The defendant construction company also placed a partial asphalt patch and left an expansion joint spanning the travel lane that rose about two inches above the ground.  There were no warning signs cautioning drivers that the roadway was being worked on at the time.

This case is a good example of a construction company who did not fulfill their safety responsibilities at a construction site.  Construction companies have a responsibility to perform their work in a reasonably safe manner, and should never be allowed to needlessly endanger anybody, whether it be construction workers who are working at their project, or members of the community such as this person who was injured while driving on a town road.  Construction companies must perform a pre-hazard analysis in order to prevent these types of accidents.  A pre-hazard analysis requires a construction company to determine (at the outset of the project) what unique aspects of each particular project could cause harm to people, and then either plan to eliminate that hazard or if it cannot be eliminated, to take reasonable precautions to prevent people from being exposed to the dangerous condition.  A construction company performing work on a roadway that is open to the public should be expected to know that any conditions that they create which could impair a driver’s ability to navigate that roadway are putting the community at a substantial increased risk of harm, which may be serious injury or death.  Construction companies must take all necessary precautions in order to prevent harm to the people who are expected to be exposed to these dangerous conditions.