Articles Tagged with Boston Workers Comp Attorney

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If you are injured at your job and unable to continue working, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier can pay you weekly benefit checks and pay for your medical treatment for 180 day — without actually accepting liability for your injury.  This means that, at any point during the 180 days, the insurer can stop paying you weekly checks and medical treatment if they mail you a Form 106, also known as an Insurer’s Notification of Termination or Modification of Weekly Compensation During Payment-Without-Prejudice Period.  This means that the insurer can stop your payments with only seven days notice to you.

The insurer can stop payment for almost any reason.  They can claim that you are capable of doing other work, or that an investigation revealed that you weren’t actually injured at work. However, if your insurer has been paying your benefits for more than 180 days, then they have accepted liability and responsibility for your work injury and cannot stop paying you weekly checks unless they file a Form 108, an Insurer’s Complaint for Modification, Discontinuance, or Recoupment of Compensation.  This requires the insurer to file the claim and go before the judge to request that they be allowed to stop paying your weekly benefits (only a judge can allow this to occur).  The exception to accepting liability if payments are made for more than 180 days is if the insurer sends you a Form 105: Agreement to Extend 180 Day Payment-Without-Prejudice Period .  If you sign this form and return it to your insurer, they can file it with the Department of Industrial Accidents, which allows them to stop paying you your weekly checks with 7 days notice (for up to 360 days).

If your insurer sends you a Form 105, it is important to talk to a lawyer before signing it. It may not be in your best interest, and may result in your weekly checks stopping before you are able to return to work.

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“The Bacon Davis Act” sets prevailing wages for federal contractor jobs, and the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law (G.L. c. 149, §§ 26 – 27,) sets wages for certain jobs involving the state or local governments. Under this law, payments by employers to health and welfare plans, pension plans and supplemental unemployment benefit plans under collective bargaining agreements or understandings between organized labor and employers are included in the wage rates.

Prevailing wage applies equally to unionized and non-unionized workers. All employees who perform work on a public works project must be paid the rate per hour according to the schedule issued for the particular project.

This is significant for workers injured on prevailing wage job-site.  Normally, an injured workers’ average weekly wage is determined by the prior 52 weeks worked; however, if an employee is injured on a prevailing wage job, the prior 52 weeks worked is not an accurate representation of the injured employee’s potential earning. For Union employee’s this is important due to the fact that their benefits package is not normally a part of the calculations of their average weekly wage; except when working on a prevailing wage job-site.

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Under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured employee must file a

claim “within four years from the date the employee first became aware of the causal relationship

between his disability and his employment.” M.G.L. c. 152 § 41. This statute of limitations provision

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Perhaps you voted yes on Question 4 on the state ballot on November 4, 2014 when voters passed a new sick leave law, and perhaps you’re wondering: “What now?”

Starting on July 1, 2015, employees who work at an employer that has 11 or more employees will have 40 hours of unpaid sick time each calendar year. Employees will be able to use sick time and miss work for reasons such as (1) caring for their child, spouse, or parent who has a physical or mental illness, (2) to handle their own illness, (3) to attend a routine medical appointment for themselves or a family member, or (4) to deal with the psychological, physical, or legal effects of domestic violence.

Employees do not receive 40 hours of sick time at the start of each calendar year. Instead, most employees will earn and accrue one hour of sick time for each 30 hours working. If an employer already provides paid sick time to its employees, the new law does not require an employer to provide additional time off so long as the existing policy allows employees to take time off for the same reasons outlined in the new law. When an employee leaves his or her job voluntarily or is fired, unlike accrued vacation time, an employer is not required to compensate an employee for accrued but unused sick leave. Importantly, the new law prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who uses sick time under the new law or supports a co-worker for doing so. That means an employer cannot fire or demote an employee for using sick time under the new law.

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Lauren_VanCase law in Massachusetts tells us that an injury may arise in the course and scope of an Employee’ s employment, even though the Employee is not engaged in the actual performance of his duties at the moment of the injury.

The obvious questions is, how?

“‘All that is required is that the Employee’s activity be incidental to and not inconsistent with his employment.’ ”D’Angeli’s Case, 369 Mass. 812, 816 (1976), quoting Bator’s Case, 338 Mass. 104, 106 (1958). Stated otherwise, “[t]he ‘obligations or conditions’ of employment [must] create the ‘zone of special danger’ out of which the injury arose. Id. at 817, citing O’Leary v. Brown-Pacific-Maxon, Inc., 340 U.S. 504, 506-507 (1951).

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By Steve Zoni, Esq.steve_z

10/22/14 – The Boston Globe recently ran a story titled “Mass. Nurses worry about Ebola preparedness” after two healthcare workers in Texas were diagnosed with Ebola that they contracted while caring for a patient who carried the virus. The Globe quoted Donna Kelly-Williams, President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, as having noted that the only people who have contracted the virus within the United States have been nurses.

In the context of workers’ compensation law, the Globe’s article highlights the fact that healthcare professionals are uniquely exposed to contagious diseases. What happens when the risk becomes reality?

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Lauren_VanWhen determining whether a mechanical device, such as wheelchair, or specially equipped private transportation is compensable, and the responsibility of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will evaluate your case based on a three prong approach.

PRONG #1:         Whether the accepted work injury is in any way related to the need for the

mechanical appliance sought. Do you need the wheelchair or specially equipped van as a result of injuries you sustained in a work-related accident?

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steve_z

When an injured workers misses time from work, workers’ compensation laws provide a system of wage replacement. In other words, workers’ compensation insurance companies must pay the injured workers a percentage of his or her former wages. It is often said that workers’ compensation is meant to compensate injured workers for having lost the ability to earn wages.

Generally, a totally disabled worker in Massachusetts is entitled to sixty percent of the former wage, and a person who is partially disabled is entitled to forty-five percent.

Often, issues arise when determining what the employee’s former wage is. The former wage, known as the “average weekly wage,” is generally determined by taking all compensation paid to the employee during his or her last fifty two weeks of work before the injury, divided by fifty two.

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aileen1Aileen C. Bartlett

508-822-2000

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited a Massachusetts excavation company for willful and serious violations of excavation safety standards.  The Wakefield contractor faces over $144,000 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection of a Milton work site last August.  According to OSHA’s Braintree office, the workers were installing water mains in a trench over six feet deep, with no cave-in protection or means of egress. The workers were also exposed to falling debris that accumulated above the trench.

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By Jason R. Markle

The coming of a new year is often an occasion for people to look at changes they can make to better their lives. People often look at how they can lead healthier lifestyles, save money or improve their relationships. It’s also a good time to look at how protected you are in the case of an accident in which you or someone else is injured. One of the best ways to do that is to take a look at your automobile insurance policy and determine if you have enough coverage. And in looking at your coverage, there’s much more to consider than just price. For example, will your medical bills and lost wages be covered following an accident? What happens if you’re seriously hurt by someone without enough coverage? Who pays for damage to your vehicle as a result of vandalism?

To answer these questions, it’s important to know that the Standard Massachusetts Automobile Policy offers 12 types of insurance. By walking through them individually, hopefully you’ll have a better idea of what’s covered and, more importantly, what’s not covered.

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