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Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

workers compMost Cape Cod workers’ compensation cases are opened and closed within a few months or, in cases involving more severe injuries, perhaps a few years. Sometimes, however, a particular injury is of such a nature that the case may not be fully resolved for decades.

In a case recently decided on appeal, the original injury happened some 20 years earlier. The insurance company that paid the original claim resisted being held liable for surgery needed by the employee some 14 years later, but both the workers’ compensation tribunal and the appellate court held otherwise.

Facts of the Case

newspaperIn a Cape Cod workers’ compensation case, there are several things that a claimant must prove in order to recover benefits such as paid medical care and temporary disability benefits. First and foremost, the claimant must be able to prove that he or she was an employee of the entity from which he or she seeks compensation.

This may sound simple enough – either the claimant worked for the defendant, or he or she did not, right? Actually, the question of whether a claimant was an “employee” as that term is defined in the law can be a rather complex issue. If the alleged “employer” is able to show that the alleged “employee” was, instead, an independent contractor, the claimant’s case is likely to fail.

Facts of the Case

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Cases involving injuries at one’s workplace can be wrought with many potential complications. For example, a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim might be met with a denial of benefits on the ground that the “employee” was actually an independent contractor.

Under Massachusetts law, independent contractors are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, they may be able to sue their “employer” (the person or business with whom they had a contractual agreement to perform work) for negligence, if the employer’s failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner caused physical harm to the worker.

Often, a negligence case has the potential for a larger amount of money damages if the plaintiff is successful; a workers’ compensation case, however, has the advantage of not requiring the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was at fault in his or her accident.

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clipboardMost workers who are injured on the job are entitled to some type of compensation. For example, a Cape Cod workers’ compensation claimant may pursue medical treatment, temporary disability, or permanent disability benefits, depending upon the nature and resolution of his or her injuries.

Some types of workers are limited to benefits under a particular law or statute. This includes members of the state police, such as state troopers. An appeals court was recently asked to review the rights of a trooper who hurt his back while working.

Facts of the Case

nurse's uniformAccidents at work can result in substantial harm to employees, including fractures, lacerations, contusions, disc herniations, strains, sprains, amputations, paralysis, blindness, hearing loss, and many other injuries.

In a Cape Cod workers’ compensation case, an employee may be entitled to receive several different types of benefits, both temporary and permanent. It is always best to speak to an experienced work injury attorney to find out more about the particulars of your case if you have suffered a work injury or illness.

Timeliness is very important in workers’ compensation cases. Since claims not filed within the time allowed by law are usually dismissed, it is critical that all paperwork be completed as soon as possible after an accident at work.

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patrol carFollowing an injury at work, a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claimant may or may not be able to return to his or her previous job. In cases in which the worker is unable to go back to the employment in which he or she was engaged at the time of the accident or work-related illness, he or she may be able to seek permanent disability payments.

Of course, the employer or its insurance company may oppose the worker’s claim, averring that the worker’s injury or illness did not result in a permanent disability. When the parties cannot agree, it is up to a workers’ compensation administrative law judge to make a determination of the specific benefits to which the injured worker is entitled.

If either party is displeased with the result, there is an appellate procedure in place.

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While the majority of cases involving injuries (such as car accident lawsuits, slip and fall cases, and workers’ compensation claims) are settled out of court, sometimes litigation can drag out for several years.

In a recent workers’ compensation case heard by a Massachusetts appellate court, however, an injured worker’s case had been going on since the 1990s.

The appellate court was called upon to determine the date from which interest was due. Due to the filing of multiple claims over a 20-year period, the matter was more complicated than it might initially seem.

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under construction

Typically, a worker who is hurt on the job is limited to benefits available to him or her under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. However, there are a few limited circumstances under which a third party may be liable in tort for the employee’s injuries.

One of these circumstances arises when a defective product was to blame for the worker’s injuries. Additionally, in some cases, the general contractor on a construction project may also be liable for the injuries of a subcontractor’s employee.

Of course, liability is never automatic, and these defendants – like most defendants who are facing the payout of a substantial verdict due to another person’s injuries – usually fight hard against a finding that they are legally responsible.

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medicine bottleUnder Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws, a person who is hurt at work may seek compensation for several types of benefits – including temporary disability, permanent disability, and medical expenses.

Ideally, the employer’s insurance company will pay these benefits in a timely and non-contentious fashion. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and an employee’s claim may be unfairly denied.

In such situations, the employee has a legal right to retain an attorney who is familiar with workers’ compensation laws to assist him or her with the claim.

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hands

When a worker is hurt on the job, there are several types of benefits to which he or she may be entitled under Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. These typically include medical expenses, temporary total or temporary partial disability payments, and permanent total or permanent partial disability benefits.

Unlike tort cases arising from accidents caused by negligence outside the workplace (a car accident, for instance), a worker is not “made whole,” economically speaking, in workers’ compensation cases. In other words, a worker does not receive total replacement of his or her lost wages, only a percentage thereof.

A recent case addresses the calculation of some of these benefits.

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