Articles Tagged with Work Accident Lawyer

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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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1518320_13264313_1George N Keches                Brian C Dever

A 50 year old carpenter was employed installing sheet rock at a construction site.  Plaintiff was working in a staircase with a co-worker who was passing the sheet rock down to the Plaintiff from the floor above.  The Plaintiff fell off the ladder and onto the mid-floor landing below sustaining head injuries and a fractured wrist.  The precise manner of the fall was unknown.  The co-worker heard the fall, responded and found the ladder upright in the designated location.  The Plaintiff was unconscious lying on the lower mid- floor landing, approximately three feet below the upper landing.

Plaintiff alleged negligence on the part of the General Contractor for failing to conduct a Job Hazard Analysis and by allowing the use of a ladder and not scaffolding while the Plaintiff was installing the sheet rock in the stairwell.  Further Plaintiff alleged that Defendant failed to provide fall protection, as Plaintiff was exposed to a fall of more than six feet based on the open stairwell behind the Plaintiff.

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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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website bmc
By: Barbara M. Callahan, Esq.

Toro, the lawnmower and turf maintenance equipment company, has recalled about 3,700 ride-on, zero turn radius, lawn mowers in the United States and about 60 in Canada due to a fire risk. The company recalled 2,600 lawnmowers in the United States and about 30 in Canada in November of 2012. This recall involves the 2012 and 2013 Toro “Z Master Commercial 2000 Series ZRT” riding mowers. They have distinctive stickers on the front and side of the mowers which say, “Toro,” “2000 Series,” and “Z Master Commercial,” and are recognizable by their red and black paint, the Toro company colors.

The company has recently discovered that the idler pulley can rub against the mower’s fuel tank, posing a fire hazard. There have been 6 reported accidents thus far. Toro is asking that owners of these mowers discontinue their use and contact a Toro dealer to schedule free repairs.Do you own one of these lawnmowers? The mowers in question have been sold at Toro dealers from 2012 to 2013 for about 8,000.00. You can check to see if you own such a mower by looking up the model and serial number of your lawnmower, which is located, if you are sitting in the driver’s seat, on a metal plate on the front, right hand side of the mower. The following model and serial numbers are the affected products:

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by Kevin P. DeMello, esq.

One of the most terrifying experiences following an automobile accident is the realization that you may not be able to return to work for an extended period of time. How will you pay your rent or mortgage? Provide for your family? One thing you can do now to protect yourself and your family is to purchase disability insurance. This type of insurance is available to cover your lost wages in case you are disabled from employment for an extended period of time. However, if you are already injured and unable to work, and do not have disability insurance, there are options for you.

If your accident took place while you were working, for instance, on your way to a client site, or while transporting materials for your employer, you are probably covered by workers compensation insurance. Typically, workers compensation coverage pays 60% of your lost wages. If you were not working at the time of your accident, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage may be available. Everyone in Massachusetts is required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP is available pay for 75% of lost wages that result from your automobile accident, up to $8,000. Often, however, the $8,000 of coverage is often not sufficient to cover someone out of work for an extended period of time. In such cases, contact the Department of Transitional Assistance, or DTA at 617-348-8500. In many cases, the DTA can provide assistance to persons out of work as a result of an automobile accident.

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by Loren E. Laskoski, Esq.

According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites. In 2010 there were 774 construction site related fatalities with 264, roughly one-third, of these resulting from falls. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and hazard free workplaces. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) is charged with ensuring compliance with the Act. OSHA acknowledges that protecting workers from falls is a priority and has enacted regulations requiring fall protection.

Under OSHA’s regulations adequate fall protection is generally required when performing work at heights greater than 6 feet. Fall protection can be in the form of harnesses and lanyards, guardrails, and/or safety nets. When performing work on a roof, for example, employers should provide their workers with harnesses that allow them to tie-off to a life line. All holes and openings should have guard rails and edges should also be properly guarded. When using ladders, workers are required to maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Work from scaffolding is slightly different, in that protection is required when working at greater than 10 feet. 

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by Claudine A. Cloutier

Congratulations to the attorneys and to the plaintiffs who were just awarded a 63 million dollar verdict in a case against Johnson & Johnson.  The plaintiff suffered horrific and permanent injuries, requiring 16 surgeries and resulting in over a million dollars in medical bills. The result is a victory, not only for the litigants, but for consumers generally.

Unfortunately, the publicity that the verdict will rightfully receive, may skew the public’s perception of what usually happens in jury trials in Massachusetts.  In 2001, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly published Superior Court Judge Patrick Brady’s article and statistics showing that plaintiffs had won only slightly more that 10% of the trials that he had tracked. See 29 M.L.W. 2103 (May 21, 2001).  Judge Brady’s tracking was only wins and losses. It did not track the size of the jury verdicts versus offers of settlement that had been made before trial. As many practitioners have experienced, a jury verdict that is a “win” can be lower than the last amount offered just as easily as it can be much larger than the last offer.

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