Articles Tagged with Massachusetts attorney

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After an Employee is injured on the job, their day to day lives are often thrown into a tailspin. As if being injured and unable to work isn’t stressful enough, most employees are left with the burden of figuring out their finances, attending doctor’s appointments, and being buried in paperwork. Often times, employees rely on and trust their adjusters to help them get through this tough period; unfortunately, adjusters and insurance companies are usually more interested in protecting their own interests. During this difficult time, most employees will receive a Form 105, “Agreement to Extend Payment Without Prejudice Period” in the mail. This form will also be accompanied with a letter that indicates that the employee has been “approved” or “could be paid for up to a year” if they sign the form. This letter is meant to mislead the employee and make them feel as if the form is in the employee’s best interest. It’s not.

Signing the Agreement to Extend 180 Day Payment Without Prejudice Period form can have an extremely negative impact on an employee’s claim. At first glance, the form seems harmless and possibly beneficial to the employee; however, by signing this form, the employee is giving up his or her legal rights — and it may allow the insurer to legally terminate benefits. It may also put the employee in a position where they could go months without benefits while waiting for a court date.

In every case, during the first 180 days from the first date of disability, the insurer is allowed to stop payments to the employee without obtaining approval of the Department of Industrial Accidents or the consent of the employee. The insurer is required to give the employee seven days written notice of the termination benefits.

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In July 2015, an ironworker was seriously injured in the course of his employment when he fell 40 feet at the central parking garage at Logan Airport. Investigators revealed that the worker had fallen onto a piece of precast concrete that had also fallen.  The 53-year-old man, a resident of Connecticut, was transported by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital where he underwent treatment for life-threatening injuries

The investigation into the incident revealed that a 32-ton piece of concrete fell while it was being hoisted by a crane, as part of the garage construction.  The worker was apparently attempting to secure the panel when he fell.  All work at the construction site was halted pending an investigation by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  OSHA is the federal agency charged with overseeing compliance with Federal Safety Regulations under 29 CFR 1910.

This incident highlights the perils faced by construction site workers.  What many do not know is that workers injured during the course of scope of their employment not only have rights under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 152, the so-called “workers compensation statute”, but they may also have a cause of action against both the general contractor on the site as well as any sub-contractors whose negligence was a contributing factor in causing the injury.  While an employee is generally unable to file a civil lawsuit against their own employer due to the exclusivity provisions of M.G.L. Ch. 152, this statute does not prohibit the injured party from pursuing a claim or lawsuit against non-employer responsible parties.

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Dole recently announced that a number of its bagged spinach products are being recalled due to salmonella poisoning. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the spinach tested positive for salmonella in random tests performed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. You can read more about the recall this CNN article and this Boston.com article.

Of particular note, this recall affects spinach that was sold in a number of states in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. The bags affected will have a code of A27409B and A27409A. Additionally, the UPC code on affected bags reads 7143000976. Please go through your vegetable drawer in your refrigerator and check any bags that you may have for those codes. If you do have affected bag, you can either return it to your supermarket or throw the bag away. Most importantly, do not eat the spinach. If you already have eaten the spinach, seek medical care immediately.

Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include stomach pains, nausea, and gastrointestinal problems. Salmonella poisoning can be a serious threat, causing severe discomfort for 4-8 days in healthy adults who seek treatment quickly. However, the elderly and small children are at a greater risk of severe symptoms. 380 people on average die from salmonella in the US every year.

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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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It’s summertime, and we are right in the middle of baseball season. The Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game just took place, and the second half of the MLB season will kick off tonight with some teams thinking about a pennant and others weighing their options for next year. Behind the scenes, however, a movement has begun to drastically alter the way that we watch baseball from the stands. My colleague, Brian Dever, recently wrote a blog on the Baseball Rule, which states that stadium owners are generally not liable for injuries caused by balls and bats flying into the stands and hitting spectators. Instead, the onus is on the fans to be alert during the game. But this rule may now have to withstand a new challenge in federal court.

A San Francisco woman has brought a federal class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and its commissioner, Rob Manfred. The lawsuit is not asking for money, but instead only seeks to have protective netting to be extended from foul pole to foul pole. Currently, protective netting is only required in certain sections behind home plate. The lawsuit claims that the protection afforded to those behind home plate should also be given to fans along the first and third base lines. The lead Plaintiff alleges that she, a longtime Giants fan, is fearful to go to the park because of foul balls. Interestingly enough, she states that the unprotected seats along the base lines are cheaper than the protected seats behind the plate, implying that some fans are given the choice to pay for greater safety. Please check out the ESPN article and the NBC Sports article on the lawsuit.

Simply from a legal standpoint, this is a very interesting issue. As Attorney Dever’s post details, the courts have long held that there are some “danger zones” in MLB stadiums that are required to have some sort of netting to protect fans. This is why the net is behind home plate (it’s also the reasoning that requires netting around shooting areas of hockey rinks). The court has also held that outside of this “danger zone,” the stadium does not owe any duty to protect. So instead of pursuing the claim under a theory that has been rejected by courts for decades, the new lawsuit instead seeks to expand the “danger zone” where the duty does exist. Only time will tell whether this action will be successful.

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Medical Malpractice occurs on a daily basis. When it happens in a hospital setting, it can be difficult to figure out who was responsible.  There are two to three nursing shifts every day, attending physicians, consulting physicians, physician assistants, and resident physicians.

Take this case, for example: Our client went to the emergency department with a broken leg. The emergency department physician evaluated her and admitted her — not for the broken leg, but for the dizziness that caused her to fall in the first place.  Then began the extensive workup and multiple consults (physician examinations from different specialists).   On day one, the broken leg was placed into a removable walking boot for the next three weeks – a simple break that needed some stability.  No orders were written about that boot, (but remember, it was a removable boot). Throughout the next five days in the hospital, the patient saw several different consulting physicians for an extensive workup to uncover why she became dizzy and fell.  The patient also had 24 hour nursing care. On a daily basis, the patient saw several different doctors who reviewed and assessed different test results, the patient’s clinical presentation, and radiology/laboratory findings.  As each physician or nurse assessed this patient, s/he was advised of the extreme pain experienced by the patient.  Each physician reviewed and agreed with the existing pain medication order or orders more/stronger pain medication – and with the medication, the patient’s pain subsides temporarily. But by day five, the pain was excruciating.  Someone finally took off that removable walking boot…only to discover that the “simple broken leg” is gangrenous.  The end result: a below the knee amputation.

So, who was responsible for the treatment and care of this patient?

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