Articles Tagged with workplace injury

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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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by Claudine A. Cloutier

It may seem strange to see “Use Your Cell Phones” on an attorney’s blog when we repeatedly hear about the dangers of distracted driving due to cell phone use.  There’s no doubt that using your phone to text or talk when you should be focusing on the road can distract you and lead to tragic consequences.

But another more positive impact that widespread use of cell phones has had on personal injury claims is that almost everyone is carrying around a camera —- all the time.  More and more frequently an injured person or a witness has the abililty to photograph the accident scene immediately after the incident has occurred.

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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 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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By Jason R. Markle

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency tasked with formulating and enforcing laws and regulations to promote workplace safety and reduce on-the-job injuries.  Despite significant improvements in workplace conditions over the last forty years, however, workplace injuries and deaths are still common. In 2011, 4,609 workers were killed in workplace accidents, amounting to 13 deaths every day.  Additionally, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly four million Americans are injured at work every year.

In an effort to raise awareness among employers and employees alike, OSHA has recently released its top ten violations cited in fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2011).  Unfortunately, most violations on the list will come as no surprise to anyone who has worked in the construction industry.  The top ten violations are as follows:

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by Claudine A. Cloutier

As noted in previous entries, who was at fault and how severely someone is injured are not always what determines the remedies that are available to an injured worker.  Frequently, the employment status of the worker will be the determinative factor.

In many industries such as construction trades, designers, sales, domestic services, it is common for workers to work for themselves on some projects and for others on other projects.  In such instances, it may be difficult to determine employment status.

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