Articles Tagged with Taunton 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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The summer is a great time to go outside and enjoy the nice weather and sunshine, and a time when many people take advantage of the ability to be more active and participate in a variety of sports. However, people do not always consider the liability ramifications of participating in sports, or even merely being a fan in the stands. A few weeks ago, a woman got hit with a piece of a broken bat at a Red Sox game. This is a reminder that sometimes we can encounter danger when we least expect it. See the stories in the Boston Globe and in USA Today for more information on that accident.

The Baseball Rule discussed regarding the Red Sox fan’s injury basically states that the stadium is not legally responsible for spectator injuries sustained when a foul ball or broken bat flies into the stands. The rule was most recently applied in the case of Costa v. Boston Red Sox Baseball Club, 61 Mass. App. Ct. 299, 809 N.E.2d 1090 (2004), upholding a ruling of the Superior Court granting summary judgment to the defendant. The theory behind the baseball rule is rooted in assumption of risk, an area which remains very much alive in sport. The Baseball Rule does not shield stadium operators for liability in their entirety. A duty does remain to provide protective screening where the risk of immediate and unavoidable danger is at its highest, called the “zone of danger,” not just in baseball, but also in other sports, most notably hockey. A recent law review article by James Kozlowski, Professor at George Mason University discussed this rule in greater detail. The screening behind home plate at a ballpark, the netting behind the boards at a hockey game, and the prohibition of leaving your seat at a hockey game during live play are all examples of the limited duty that the stadium operator owes fans due to the Baseball Rule.

Assumption of risk does not just apply to spectators, but to participants as well. Generally, athletes assume the risk of injury incurred by participating in sports. This is true of being struck by a golf ball on the course, as in Gray v. Giroux, 49 Mass. App. Ct. 436, 730 N.E.2d 338 (2000). Additionally, there are two trial court level rulings, Orth v. Novelli, No. CIV. A. 95-0990-A, 1997 WL 805469 (Mass. Super. Nov. 11, 1997) and Mangone v. Pickering, No. CIV.A. 95-0357, 1997 WL 197232 (Mass. Super. Apr. 14, 1997) which detail the culpability standard for being struck by a golf club. In Orth the standard that must be met is negligence. In Mangone the standard that must be met is recklessness. This split of opinion must be resolved at the appellate level, and presumably will be heard at some point in time. This also applies in a contact sport context. In the case of Gauvin v. Clark, 404 Mass. 450, 450, 537 N.E.2d 94, 95 (1989), a hockey player was not held liable for injuring an opponent by hitting him with the butt end of his stick during a faceoff. The action was in violation of the rules of hockey, but not so egregious as to impose liability.

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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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