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Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

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 →

In exchange for the right to recover worker’s compensation benefits, the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) generally precludes employees from pursuing civil claims for bodily harm against their employers. They can pursue claims against other parties that contributed to or caused their injuries, however. As with any civil claim, if a plaintiff seeking damages against a third party following a workplace accident cannot establish liability, their claim will be dismissed. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed what evidence is needed to prove a vessel is liable to an injured longshore worker in a matter in which it ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. If you suffered injuries at work, you might be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits and other damages, and it is smart to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer experienced at handling complicated cases to discuss your rights.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was working as a stevedore for a fishing company when she suffered injuries unloading boxes from the defendant’s ship. She subsequently filed a negligence claim against the defendant seeking damages for his losses. The defendant filed a third-party complaint against the fishing company, alleging that it negligently hired and trained the plaintiff. The fishing company moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the Act precluded the imposition of liability against it for the plaintiff’s harm. The defendant then moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claims. The court ultimately granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the fishing company’s motion as moot.

Third-Party Liability for Work Accidents

The court noted that as the plaintiff alleged a negligence claim against the defendant, she was required to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant owed her a duty, a breach of that duty, injury sustained by the plaintiff, and a causal link between the defendant’s acts and her injury. Continue reading →

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ compensation Act (the Act), employees that sustain work related harm have the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers who have to pay such benefits to retaliate against their injured employees by terminating them or changing the terms of their employment. Such retaliatory tactics are prohibited under the Act, employees retaliated against can pursue claims against their employers. They must do so within the time proscribed by the statute of limitations, however, otherwise, their claims may be waived, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you were hurt at work, you could be owed workers’ compensation benefits, and it is in your best interest to confer with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that in 2009, the plaintiff suffered unspecified injuries at work, after which he filed a workers’ compensation claim. His claim was denied. He subsequently alleged was retaliated against for seeking workers’ compensation benefits and litigated his claim with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. He then filed a complaint in 2015 in which he alleged, among other things, that the defendant retaliated against him for seeking workers’ compensation benefits by refusing to promote him. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the retaliation claim on the grounds that it was barred by the statute of limitations. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Retaliation Claims Under the Act

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court noted that pursuant to the Act, any claim alleging that an employer unlawfully retaliated against an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits must be filed within three years. The court explained that the limitations period begins to run on the date of the allegedly discriminatory act. Continue reading →

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employees who are hurt on the job are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits that cover the cost of their medical care and compensate them for lost wages. As explained in a recent Massachusetts ruling, such benefits may be recoverable regardless of whether an employee is suspended from work for cause. If you suffered harm while working, you might be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits, and it is advisable to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about what benefits your rights.

History of the Case

It is reported that the claimant worked for the defendant as a paramedic and emergency medical technician for over twenty years before he suffered a debilitating ankle injury while transporting a patient. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and received payments for close to one year. The defendant then suspended him without pay indefinitely after learning that he had been indicted on charges of diverting and misusing controlled substances.

Allegedly, the defendant, a self-insured municipal employer, discontinued the claimant’s workers’ compensation payments as well. The defendant then moved for the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) to restore the payments. The DIA granted his motion, but the defendant refused to comply with the order requiring it to pay the claimant workers’ compensation benefits. The defendant appealed, and the court ruled in its favor, dismissing the enforcement actions. The claimant appealed. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) protects employees in that it allows them to recover workers’ compensation benefits following workplace injuries. It is important to note, however, that only employees are afforded such rights. In other words, independent contractors, volunteers, and other non-employee workers cannot recover benefits under the Act. A Massachusetts court recently explained the factors weighed in determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor in a case in which it ultimately denied the claimant’s claim for benefits. If you were hurt while working, it is important to understand your rights, and you should speak with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to determine whether you may be owed benefits.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the claimant began working for a newspaper delivery service in 2001. She signed numerous contracts throughout the years that defined her as an independent contractor. Under the terms of the contract, she could make deliveries at any time and in any order, as long as they were completed by a certain time. She used her own car to make deliveries and was paid for each newspaper she delivered.

It is reported that the claimant’s contract was not exclusive, and she was permitted to make deliveries for other companies as well. In September 2010, the claimant fell and injured her right hand and knee when she was making deliveries. She fell again in January 2011, sustaining injuries that required surgery and hospitalization. She filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in 2012, and the insurer objected. An administrative judge ultimately ruled that the claimant was an independent contractor and was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The reviewing board affirmed, and the claimant appealed. Continue reading →

While the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) allows people to recover benefits if they are harmed at work, it requires them to waive the ability to pursue personal injury claims against their employers in exchange for such rights. Instead, the exclusivity provision of the Act provides that the Act is the sole remedy for injuries sustained at work. The exclusivity provision is strictly construed and applies not only to bodily harm but also to emotional injuries as well, as evidenced in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you were harmed by your employer’s acts, it is in your best interest to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your rights as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a police officer at a Massachusetts university from December 2014 through March 2015, when he was fired for alleged misconduct. After he was let go, he filed an action against the university and his former supervisor, asserting various claims related to his termination. The defendants then moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. Among other things, they argued that his intentional interference with a contract, tortious interference with a contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act. The plaintiff opposed the defendant’s motion.

Exclusivity Provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act

The court ultimately granted the defendant’s motion in part and denied it in part. The court explained that the exclusivity provisions of the Act state, in part, that employees are deemed to have waived their rights to pursue common law claims against their employers to recover damages for personal injuries. Continue reading →

People who are treated adversely at work will often pursue civil claims against their employers. While they are generally permitted to do so, depending on the nature of their claims, they may be precluded by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). For example, the exclusivity provisions of the Act can operate to bar claims asserting emotional harm, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you suffered physical or emotional harm at work, it is smart to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked for the employer as a hub specialist. She had two small children that she breastfed. When she was breastfeeding, she would frequently pump breast milk while working. She was granted permission to use a storage closet to pump and was advised it was a private space. She later learned, however, that there were cameras in the closet. She then filed a request for leave with the employer, stating that her request for accommodations for pumping breastmilk failed. The employer did not respond to her request. She subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against them, asserting an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim and other claims.

Determining if the Act Precludes a Civil Claim

The employer argued, among other things, that as the Act generally precluded employees from pursuing civil claims, like personal injury claims, against their employer, it barred the plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. The court explained that to determine whether a plaintiff’s civil action against an employer is barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act, the courts must conduct a three part test. Continue reading →

People who suffer injuries at work can often recover workers’ compensation benefits. Typically, though, they cannot pursue any other civil claims against their employers. This preclusion extends not only to claims arising out of bodily harm but also to those seeking damages for emotional trauma. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the exclusivity provision of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) in a case in which it ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claims on other grounds. If you sustained injuries due to workplace conditions, you might be owed workers’ compensation benefits, and it is in your best interest to confer with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was terminated by his employer due to a reduction in force. The termination happened shortly after the plaintiff returned to work after being out on parental leave. The plaintiff subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against the employer, arguing that he was fired in retaliation for taking leave, in violation of his rights, and asserting various claims under state and federal law, including an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The employer moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Generally, Massachusetts law limits people injured at work to the recovery of workers’ compensation benefits. In some professions, though, a person injured in the line of duty may be able to recover additional compensation. This was illustrated in a recent Massachusetts case in which the court found that a police officer qualified for assault pay in addition to workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to the General Laws. If you were hurt while working, you should speak to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss what benefits you may be able to recover.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff worked for a county sheriff’s department. In January 2018, an incident occurred in a correctional facility where an inmate took a guard hostage. The plaintiff was called to assist a co-worker in carrying a metal footlocker to address the hostage situation. When he was helping move the footlocker, the plaintiff hurt his shoulder.

Allegedly, the plaintiff could not work due to his injuries. He sought and received workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). He then sought assault pay pursuant to numerous provisions of the General Laws. Continue reading →