COVID-19 Update: We are open and fully operating. Click here to see how we are serving and protecting our clients.
NEW COVID-19 Cases: If you have been affected by COVID-19, call or email us to discuss your legal rights.

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), protects Massachusetts employees in that it allows them to recover workers’ compensation benefits if they were injured while working. The right to recover such benefits impacts other claims, though. For example, it may affect an employee’s ability to pursue certain employment claims, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you were hurt at work, your employer could owe you benefits, and it is wise to speak to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your options.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, a former flight attendant, and a former co-worker bought a lawsuit against the defendant, their former employer, arguing that the defendant negligently or fraudulently misrepresented what travel benefits they would retain after they retired. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claims arguing, in part, that her settlement in a workers’ compensation claim barred her from seeking any employment-related benefits after the date of settlement.

The Relationship Between Workers’ Compensation and Employee Benefits Claims

After reviewing the evidence of the case, the court found in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that the Act stipulates that when an employee accepts a settlement in a workers’ compensation claim, it creates a presumption that they are no longer physically capable of resuming work for the employer in the place where the alleged injury happened for a period of one month for each $1,500 that is included in the settlement for future weekly wages. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) provides that people hurt at work have the right to seek benefits from their employer. Notably, this right extends not only to people hurt in accidents but also to those that develop illnesses or injuries due to exposure to harmful substances. Regardless of the type of injury a claimant suffers from, though, they must establish that it was caused by workplace conditions or activities in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits, as demonstrated in an opinion recently issued by a Massachusetts court. If you contracted an illness due to exposure to unsafe substances at work, you should consult a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss whether you may be able to recover benefits.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits from his employer, which was self-insured. In support of his claim, the plaintiff alleged that he sustained a work-related lung injury while performing his duties as an HVAC technician for the employer. The employer contested liability, arguing that the employee did not establish that his injury was caused by work conditions.

It is reported that an administrative judge of the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) awarded the plaintiff some benefits but not others, and both parties appealed. Following a hearing during which doctors and an independent medical examiner testified, the judge issued a decision in favor of the plaintiff. The employer appealed, and on appeal, the reviewing board of the DIA reversed the administrative judge’s ruling, finding that the employee failed to show his lung injury was causally related to his work. The plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →

People injured at work have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. In exchange for that right, however, the exclusivity provision of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) bars them from seeking other damages for their injuries from their employers. In some cases, though, it is unclear whether a person is an employee and whether the Act applies, as shown in a recent ruling issued by a Massachusetts court. If you were harmed while working, it is in your best interest to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer regarding what benefits you may be owed.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent was a graduate student at the defendant university. He sought counseling after he expressed concerns that he was failing his classes and was referred to receive mental health treatment. During his intake meeting, he denied that he had suicidal ideation and stated he did not know why he was referred there. He had several subsequent visits, however, and later admitted a history of depression and suicidal thoughts. Tragically, he died by suicide approximately two years after he began to seek help.

It is reported that the plaintiff, the administrator of the decedent’s estate, instituted a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence and wrongful death claims. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment, arguing that the decedent was an employee and, therefore, the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the Act. The plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment asking the court to rule as a matter of law that the decedent was not the defendant’s employee. The trial court denied both motions, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →

Employees hurt while they are working can typically recover workers’ compensation benefits for their harm. Only injuries attributable to a workplace accident or conditions are compensable, though, and if a worker fails to establish the link between a work incident and their losses, they will most likely be denied benefits. Recently, a Massachusetts court contemplated what evidence is needed to establish the requisite causal connection in a case in which it ultimately affirmed the denial of the plaintiff’s claim for benefits for psychological harm. If you were injured while working, you could be owed benefits, and you should meet with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to assess your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was hit in the head with a magnet when she was leaving her employer’s offices. She subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim, seeking benefits for psychological and physical injuries that she attributed to the incident. An administrative judge of the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) determined that the plaintiff was entitled to benefits for her physical harm but that she should not be awarded benefits for her psychological harm.

It is reported that the basis for the judge’s decision was that the plaintiff failed to show a causal connection between the accident and her psychological injuries. The plaintiff appealed, and the DIA review board denied her appeal. She then appealed to the Appeals Court of Massachusetts. Continue reading →

Under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employees hurt at work generally can recover workers’ compensation benefits. There are exceptions to the general rule, though, such as when the employee engaged in deliberate misconduct that led to their harm. In a recent matter, the court addressed the issue of whether a workers’ compensation insurer had the right to relitigate the issue of the employee’s fault when the matter had previously been resolved by an unemployment division. If you suffered harm in a workplace incident, it is smart to confer with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about what benefits you may be able to recover.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff began working as a custodian for a school located in a Massachusetts town in 1999. In 2004, he suffered injuries in an argument with his supervisor. Following an investigation, the town determined that the plaintiff was the aggressor in the incident and fired him.

Reportedly, the plaintiff then filed a claim for unemployment compensation with the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). Following a hearing, the DUA determined that the employee did not instigate the altercation and granted him unemployment benefits. The town appealed to the district court, which affirmed the decision. The employee subsequently filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). The town’s insurer argued that the employee was not entitled to benefits because his actions constituted willful and serious misconduct. The employee argued that the doctrine of collateral estoppel precluded the insurer from making the argument, but the administrative judge rejected his argument and denied his claim. The employee then appealed. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) not only grants employees the right to recover benefits from their employers in the event they suffer harm in the workplace but also protects them from retaliation for exercising such rights. An employee that experiences adverse employment actions after filing a workers’ compensation claim may be able to recover additional damages, but only if they can demonstrate that the negative actions taken against them were retaliatory. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the shifting burdens of proof in workers’ compensation claims in a matter in which it ultimately denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. If your employer took action against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be owed compensation, and you should meet with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your rights.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked as the director of facilities at the defendant’s zoo. In January 2018, he terminated an associate as part of his duties. The associate subsequently assaulted the plaintiff, who developed PTSD after the incident. The plaintiff then sought and received workers’ compensation benefits.

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered a work-related injury the following year and filed a second workers’ compensation claim. He later complained to a supervisor that he received harsher treatment than other employees, which he attributed in part to his pursuit of workers’ compensation benefits. He was terminated shortly thereafter. He then filed a lawsuit instituting numerous claims against the defendant, including a workers’ compensation retaliation claim. After discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment. Continue reading →

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation (the Act), people that suffer harm at work are generally eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits. In exchange for the protections offered by the Act, though, they waive the right to pursue personal injury for damages from their employer. Notably, the Act precludes employees not only from filing claims seeking compensation for physical harm but also bars claims for emotional harm as well, as explained in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you suffered physical or mental harm in the workplace, you might be owed benefits, and it is wise to confer with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney regarding your rights as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked as a scientist for the defendant pharmaceutical company from October 2007 until November 2015. After the plaintiff made a presentation to his superiors, he faced harsh criticism. He subsequently developed mental health issues, of which he advised his employer. He was ultimately terminated. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting that he was terminated due to his mental health issues, in violation of the ADA, and asserting claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendant moved for summary judgment.

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act Exclusivity Provisions

The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. As to the plaintiff’s claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, the court found that they were barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Act. Specifically, the court explained that pursuant to Massachusetts law, the Act precludes common law actions where the plaintiff is proven to be an employee of the defendant, his harm is deemed a personal injury as defined by the Act, and it is demonstrated that the harm arose out of and during the court of employment. Continue reading →

People who are unable to work because of physical or mental disabilities may be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will often deny a party’s initial claim for disability benefits. In many instances, such decisions are reversed on appeal, however, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you cannot earn an income because of an enduring physical or mental health condition, it is in your best interest to speak with a Massachusetts Social Security Disability lawyer to determine whether you may be able to recover disability benefits.

Procedural and Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff stopped working at the age of 45 after he suffered an injury to his dominant hand while assembling medical equipment. After the injury, he could no longer perform many of the tasks of daily life, like cutting his food, grooming, preparing meals, or shopping for groceries. He subsequently developed mental health issues as a result of the frustration of his inability to use his dominant hand.

It is reported that the plaintiff sought and received workers’ compensation benefits. He then filed a claim for SSA disability benefits. Following a hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) denied his claim on the grounds that the plaintiff was not disabled, as defined by the SSA. The plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who seek workers’ compensation benefits in the form of adverse employment action. As such, employers that violate the retaliation provision may be civilly liable to the employee for damages. As shown in a recent Massachusetts ruling, in order to prove that an employer’s acts were taken in retaliation, an employee must establish that the employer knew about the employee’s workers’ compensation claim. If you sustained harm while working, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim, and it is wise to consult a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer to assess what benefits you could be owed.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff worked for the defendant from 2003 through 2018 when he was terminated for theft. In 2007, he suffered injuries in a car accident that occurred when he was traveling from one of the defendant’s stores to another. He filed a workers’ compensation claim for injuries sustained in the accident and took a leave of absence. After the plaintiff was terminated, he filed a pro se action against the defendant asserting, among other things, a workers’ compensation retaliation claim.  The defendant moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s retaliation claim.

Establishing Liability in a Retaliation Claim

The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation retaliation claim. The court explained that pursuant to the Act, it is illegal for an employer to fire, refuse to hire, or discriminate against an employee in any other way because the employer has filed a workers’ compensation claim or participating in workers’ compensation proceedings. Continue reading →

People that sustain injuries in accidents on their work premises can often recover workers’ compensation benefits. While their employers bear the responsibility of paying such benefits, in most instances, the employee is actually compensated by the employers’ insurer. If the injured employee subsequently files a third-party claim for damages arising out of the work-related harm, the insurer may assert a lien against the employee’s recovery. Recently, a Massachusetts court explained what factors must be considered in evaluating whether a settlement allocation between an insurer and an injured employee is fair and reasonable. If you suffered losses at work, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits, and it is in your best interest to speak to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer about the facts of your case.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff tripped in a pothole in the parking lot of his workplace and fell. Tragically, he hit his head on the pavement during the fall, causing him to sustain a traumatic brain injury that led to permanent disabilities. He filed a workers’ compensation claim and received the maximum amount of benefits available from his employers’ insurer. He then filed a third-party complaint against the owner of the property, alleging that its negligent maintenance of the lot caused his harm.

It is reported that the plaintiff and property owner ultimately agreed to settle the claim and petitioned the judge for approval of the allocation of the settlement proceeds. The plaintiff proposed that $8,000 of the proceeds go towards the insurer’s lien while the remaining $92,000 go to the plaintiff for pain and suffering. The insurer objected, asking the court to grant it one-third of the settlement. The court approved the plaintiff’s proposed allocation, and the insurer appealed. Continue reading →