Under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employers generally must give employees who sustain work-related harm workers’ compensation benefits. Employers must fulfill this duty regardless of whether a third party causes the harm in question, and the employer may not have recourse for pursuing claims against the third party for damages; as discussed in a recent Massachusetts case. If you were wounded in a work accident, it is advisable to consult a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your possible claims.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff employed an individual who sustained injuries in an industrial accident. Specifically, the employee suffered injuries when a dumpster owned by the defendant excavation company rolled off of a truck. The employee, who was at work during the accident, filed a workers’ compensation claim, which was covered by the employer’s insurer.

Allegedly the employer subsequently sued the excavation company, alleging that the excavation company’s negligence caused an increase in its workers’ compensation insurance costs. Specifically, the employer claimed it suffered economic losses in the form of a dividend loss from its insurance premium due to the accident. The excavation company moved for summary judgment, arguing it owed no duty to the employer and that the Workers’ Compensation Act foreclosed the employer’s claim. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the excavation company, ruling that no duty was owed to the employer. The employer appealed. Continue reading →

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) people injured in catastrophic accidents at work have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits from their employers. In exchange for that right, though, they waive the right to pursue negligence claims against their employers for work-related harm. Further, the same provisions of the Act that provide employers with immunity provide protections for co-workers of the injured employee. This means, as discussed in a recent Massachusetts case, that co-employee’s generally cannot be held liable for harm sustained in a work accident allegedly caused by their negligence. If you were hurt in a work incident, it is smart to speak to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual History and Procedural Setting

It is alleged that the plaintiff, an employee of a packing company, was severely injured when an accident occurred while he was repairing a backhoe truck tire. The plaintiff sustained permanent injuries when the tire exploded. The plaintiff and his wife eventually settled the workers’ compensation claim against the employer for $750,000. However, they pursued negligence claims against the defendant, a co-employee of the injured plaintiff.

It is reported that the defendant, the vice-president of operations at Shield, was involved in purchasing the backhoe truck and instructing the plaintiff to repair it at the time of the accident. The defendant moved for summary judgment, aguing he had co-employee immunity under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The court granted the motion and the plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the defendant’s negligence occurred before he and the injured plaintiff became co-employees and thus, co-employee immunity should not apply. Additionally, they sought to add a claim for loss of consortium, which was denied by the court. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) grants certain protections for employees. Specifically, it allows them to recover medical and wage loss benefits from their employers if they sustain injuries in the workplace. In exchange for such rights, though, employees are generally precluded from pursuing civil claims against their employers for workplace harm. There are some exceptions to the general rule, such as those that arise under the dual persona theory, but as discussed in a recent Massachusetts case, they only apply in narrow circumstances. If you sustained injuries at work, it is wise to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to determine your options.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who worked as a bookkeeper who worked for the defendants, sustained injuries in a fall on the steps of the defendants’ residence. The defendants, trustees of a realty trust, operated their business from their home. The plaintiff received workers’ compensation benefits for her injuries from the Trust’s insurer.

It is reported that the plaintiff subsequently sued the defendants individually, alleging that their negligent maintenance of the premises caused her injuries. The defendants moved for summary judgment, asserting that the Plaintiff’s claim was barred by exclusivity provisions of the Act. Continue reading →

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), people hurt while working can often recover workers’ compensation benefits. People must meet certain qualifications in order to obtain such benefits, however. First, their harm must be work-related, which generally means that it must occur while they are at work or performing a work-related task for the benefit of their employer. Further, the injured party must be an employee in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits under the Act. In other words, independent contractors cannot recover any benefits under the Act if they are hurt at work. Recently, the Massachusetts Attorney General filed a lawsuit against a ridesharing company due to alleged worker misclassification. If the lawsuit is successfully, it could result in many more workers being covered under the Act. If you were hurt while working, you may be owed benefits under the Act, and you should confer with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your rights.

The Ridesharing Company Lawsuit

It is reported that, in Massachusetts, ridesharing companies are embroiled in a legal battle initiated by the Attorney General, who alleges that the companies have wrongly classified their drivers as independent contractors. According to the Attorney General, these drivers should be considered employees under state law, entitling them benefits, including workers’ compensation coverage. The lawsuit claims that ridesharing companies have misclassified thousands of drivers in Massachusetts and have failed to comply with the state’s worker-friendly laws governing independent contractors.

It is alleged that the state is seeking to enforce proper classification and hold the companies accountable for any violations. The ridesharing companies, on the other hand, argue that they are technology platforms that facilitate connections between drivers and riders, rather than traditional transportation companies that employ drivers directly. They contend that their drivers are independent contractors who value the flexibility of their work arrangements. The outcome of this trial could have significant implications for the ridesharing companies’ operations in Massachusetts and may set a precedent for how gig worker rights are addressed in other states and cities across the country. Continue reading →

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits arises out of the employee-employer relationship. While generally, a person can only recover workers’ compensation benefits from one employer for work-related injury, in some instances, more than one employer will be liable. In other words, in cases involving joint employers, an injured claimant may be an employee of both employers. In a recent Massachusetts case, the court discussed joint employment, ultimately determining that both employers in question were liable. If you sustained losses due to a work-related incident, it is advisable to speak to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about what benefits you may be owed.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the claimant, operating under his business name, had been hired by two individuals engaged in property rehabilitation. Later, he began work for a property management company introduced to him by these individuals. The claimant worked on various projects for both parties, receiving payment as an individual and working under their direction.

Reportedly, he sustained a serious injury while working on a project jointly undertaken by the property management company and one of the individuals and filed a workers’ compensation claim seeking benefits from either the individuals or the property management company. The administrative judge determined that the claimant was an employee of both entities and that they constituted joint employers. The reviewing board summarily affirmed these findings. The property management company then appealed. Continue reading →

Generally, the law protects employees who suffer injuries at work by granting them the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits for work-related harm. While generally, such rights are conferred by state law, they can arise from federal law, like the Defense Base Act, as well. In a recent Massachusetts case, a court discussed the parameters of the Defense Base Act, ultimately finding that it applied and that an employee’s death was compensable. If your loved one died because of a workplace accident, it is smart to meet with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to determine your rights.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the claimant filed a claim following the death of her husband, who worked as a Chief Engineer for the employer. The decedent’s duties included working five days a week with the possibility of being called in for emergencies. As part of his employment benefits, the employer provided vouchers for taxi services within a 25-kilometer radius of the city center, with no restrictions on time or purpose of travel. The decedent was in a taxi en route to a grocery store when it was involved in a fatal head-on collision.

Reportedly, the administrative law judge found the accident compensable under the “zone of special danger” doctrine, deeming it foreseeable given the conditions and obligations of the decedent’s employment. The judge noted that the employer required the decedent to work and reside in a hazardous area, provided him with housing allowances and taxi vouchers, and permitted their use for any reason, including grocery shopping. Consequently, the judge awarded death benefits to the claimant, ruling that the decedent’s death was work-related and compensable under the Defense Base Act (the Act). The employer appealed. Continue reading →

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who sustain work-related injuries. While generally, such benefits are paid by insurers, employers have the option of being self-insured. If they choose to do so, they are nonetheless bound by the terms of the Act. This means, among other things, that they can be penalized for failing to provide an employee who sustained a work-related injury with the benefits they are owed, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you sustained injuries at work, you may be owed benefits, and you should speak with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the employee sustained a knee injury while working as a track maintenance supervisor for the employer. Despite reporting the injury and seeking medical attention, the employee’s request for coverage for surgery was initially denied by the employer, who acted as a self-insurer based on a medical evaluation. The employee eventually underwent surgery and filed for workers’ compensation benefits, which were also initially denied.

It is reported, however, that following a conciliation and conference process, an administrative judge issued an order for the employer to pay temporary total incapacity compensation and medical benefits to the employee. The employer disputed the order, claiming it had already compensated the employee through other means, and appealed the decision. The Department of Industrial Accidents’ reviewing board affirmed the administrative judge’s ruling and imposed a penalty on the employer for late payment of benefits awarded to the employee. The employer appealed. Continue reading →

Pursuant to Massachusetts law, employers have an obligation to pay workers’ compensation benefits to employees who sustain injuries while working. Only work-related injuries are compensable, though, and if an employer can establish that outside factors caused an employee’s harm, they can avoid paying benefits. As shown in a recent Massachusetts ruling, though, the employer must offer substantial and compelling evidence to prevail. If you were hurt while working, it is sensible to talk to a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation attorney regarding what benefits you may be owed.

History of the Case

It is reported that the claimant asserted suffering from intense lower back pain radiating down his left leg, rendering him totally and permanently disabled. He alleged he became disabled while working for the employer, a ship manufacturing facility, and filed a workers’ compensation claim. The employer contested the claim, arguing that the claimant’s disability was not work-related.

Allegedly, after a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) initially denied the claimant’s claim, finding that the employer had rebutted the statutory presumption of work-relatedness. However, on appeal, the Benefits Review Board vacated the ALJ’s decision, holding that the employer’s evidence was insufficient to rebut the presumption. The case was remanded, and the ALJ subsequently awarded the claimant disability benefits. The employer appealed again, challenging the Board’s decision. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act provides that employees who are hurt while working can recover medical benefits and wage loss benefits for losses related to their harm. In some instances, other benefits may be available as well. For example, as discussed in a recent Massachusetts ruling, in some instances, assault pay could be recoverable in some cases. If you were hurt while working, it is advisable to talk to a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation attorney regarding what benefits you may be owed.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the plaintiff, a court officer, filed a complaint in alleging debilitating injuries sustained on multiple occasions dating back to 1998 while on the job. In count one, Howard sought “assault pay” to compensate for the difference between his workers’ compensation payments and his salary. In count two, he sought additional damages and attorney’s fees under the Wage Act, due to the Commonwealth’s failure to provide assault pay. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, leading to the plaintiff’s appeal.

Assault Pay for Work-Related Harm

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling in part and reversed it in part. As to the first count, the court noted that the trial court dismissed it on statute of limitations grounds, which the defendant later admitted was an error. The defendant, however, argued for the dismissal on the alternative ground that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted. Specifically, the defendant contended that the injuries the plaintiff suffered, for which he was eligible for workers’ compensation, did not fall under the assault pay statute’s coverage. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act dictates that people who suffer work-related injuries can recover benefits for their medical expenses and lost wages from their employer. Further, people who suffer the loss of a loved one due to work-related harm can often recover benefits as well. If a party’s workers’ compensation claim is denied, they may be able to pursue civil claims for damages, but only if they comply with the procedural requirements, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts case. If you lost a loved one in a work accident, you should speak to a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation attorney about your possible claims.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent passed away after he suffered an injury when the forklift truck he was operating was overturned on the defendant employer’s premises. The plaintiff sought workers’ compensation benefits, but their claim was denied. The plaintiff then filed a civil complaint against the defendant, seeking punitive damages for gross negligence, wrongful death, and conscious pain and suffering of the decedent.

Allegedly, certain facts were undisputed, including that the decedent was employed by the defendant at the time of the accident, he did not reserve his rights under G.L. c. 152, § 24, and the accident occurred while he was performing his job duties. The identity of the defendant’s insurer was not disputed either. Following discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →