Massachusetts Court Discusses the Exclusivity Provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act

Massachusetts employees who suffer workplace injuries can typically recover workers’ compensation benefits from their employers pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act).  In exchange for the right to receive such benefits, however, they are generally precluded from pursuing civil claims for work-related injuries against their employers by the Act’s exclusivity provision. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the applicability of the exclusivity provision with regard to claims asserting harm caused by negligence supervision and hiring. If you were injured at work, it is smart to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer about what benefits you may be able to recover.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, her former employer, in which she alleged that the defendant failed to provide a safe workplace and asserted claims of negligent hiring and supervision, among other things. The defendant moved to dismiss the aforementioned claims on the grounds that they were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act.

The Exclusivity Provision of the Act

The court agreed with the defendant’s assertion and granted its motion to dismiss. The court noted that the exclusivity provision of the Act is a comprehensive preemption that precludes injured workers from pursuing tort actions that arise out of employment related injuries that are compensable through the payment of workers’ compensation benefits under the Act.

The court further explained that the exclusivity provision of the Act bars common law actions in cases in which the plaintiff is shown to be an employee, their alleged condition is a personal injury as defined by the Act that arose out of and during the course of their employment.

In the subject case, the plaintiff’s complaint clearly asserted that she was employed by the defendant and suffered personal injuries that arose in the course of her employment due to the defendant’s acts and omissions. Based on the foregoing, the court found that the plaintiff’s negligence claims against the defendant were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act. Further, the court stated that while there were exceptions to the exclusivity provision, none of them applied in the subject case. As such, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, thereby dismissing the plaintiff’s negligence claims. She was permitted to proceed on the remainder of her claims against the defendant, however.

Meet with an Experienced Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

People injured while working can often recover workers’ compensation benefits from their employer, but their right to recover other damages for such harm is limited. If you were hurt at work, it is in your best interest to talk to meet with an attorney to discuss your options.  James K. Meehan of the Law Office of James K. Meehan is an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer who can advise you of your rights and help you to seek any benefits you may be owed. You can contact Mr. Meehan by calling 508-822-6600 or by using the form online to set up a meeting.