Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

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A common question that we receive as Boston workers’ compensation lawyers involves situations where the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, but the employee suffers a work-related injury.  This situation often arises for in-home care providers who are hired by a family to take care of a disabled, sick, or elderly person. In many instances, the terms of these employment relationships can be vague and unclear. Our diligent team of knowledgeable attorneys is standing by to help you ensure that you are treated fairly and that you receive the compensation that you deserve.

In a recent case, an in-home care provider filed a claim against the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund (WCTF) seeking benefits for an on-the-job injury. She filed the claim against the WCTF because her employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance on the date of the injury. The WCTF and the employee entered into a settlement, but the employer was not part of that settlement agreement and many procedural issues arose in the matter that created confusion among the parties. A judge has the power to join an uninsured employer in the claim, which the judge did so here.

The worker was working as a personal care assistant taking care of an elderly woman when she fell down the backstairs of the house. She did not return to work and eventually moved in with a cousin. Prior to starting employment, the worker and the elderly woman’s daughter entered into a verbal agreement about the job and the duties that it would involve. The worker testified that she often worked 30 to 40 hours per week providing assistance to the elderly woman, household maintenance, and clerical responsibilities. The court concluded that the worker was a formal employee of the daughter and the daughter appealed, stating that the parties had created an employment contract that covered only two hours a day to take care of the elderly mother and that there was no “firm agreement” requiring the worker to perform tasks during the rest of the time.

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Many people know that work-related injuries can cause serious physical pain and suffering. In many instances, however, an injury can also lead to psychiatric injuries, especially if the injury will prevent the employee from returning to work or if it will leave them with a permanent disability that severely limits their daily activities. As Boston workers’ compensation attorneys, we are prepared to help you fight for the outcome that you deserve after sustaining an injury on the job.

In a recent claim,  the injured worker was a developmental aide for her employer, which included engaging with developmentally disabled clients to assist them with using the bathroom. The job was physically demanding. In 2011, she suffered two accidents on the job, starting with a fall while assisting a patient that resulted in injuries to her back, left knee, shoulder, and neck. The second injury affected her left knee. The employee received immediate benefits from her employer’s insurance carrier and later filed a claim for injury-related benefits as well as psychiatric benefits.

After the initial hearing, the judge concluded that the employee was unable to lift objects and stand for a long period of time and that her mobility was otherwise very low due to her injuries. He also concluded that her psychiatric injury was a result of the serious limitations that she now faced in her daily life. She was even hospitalized as a result of suicidal thoughts for five days. The judge concluded that she was totally disabled but did not find her permanently disabled, noting that one doctor indicated that psychotherapy and pain management medications could be promising.

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There are quite a few employees who work across state lines especially in the transportation industry. This can create issues when it comes to knowing which state’s workers’ compensation benefits system will provide you with support in the unfortunate event that you suffer an injury on the job. At Pulgini & Norton, we are standing by and ready to assist you with determining whether you are entitled to benefits and the best method for asserting any rights that are available to you.

In a recent case, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal discussed some of the issues that can arise when an employee travels across state lines for work. If you are one of these employees, then it is important for you to be aware of how workers’ compensation rules may apply to you should you suffer an injury on the job.

The worker was a tractor-trailer driver who entered into a contract with his employer in Pennsylvania. The hiring process that the driver had to complete was complex and thorough and a job offer was not extended until the applicant completed an orientation program that required the applicant to travel to Roaring Springs, Pennsylvania. At the end of his training program, the worker was extended an offer in Pennsylvania, which he accepted.

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Severe injuries can be devastating for a worker and cause serious disruption in his or her life. Workers’ compensation claims can take a long time, especially if the injury requires ongoing medical treatment. When other injuries happen while another claim is pending, it can be difficult to determine whether the new injury is also associated with the original injury. Our seasoned team of Boston work injury lawyers are ready to assist you with asserting your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

In a recent claim, the worker suffered a major rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder while working as a crane operator. He worked as an ironworker for his entire adult life. He often was required to demonstrate tasks to other workers. His employer’s insurer accepted liability for the accident and the worker underwent surgery and other medical treatments. He returned to light duty work including clerical tasks.

Roughly two years later, the employee slipped while getting out of his work truck on his way home from work suffering an injury to his right shoulder. The employee testified that when he started to fall, he tucked his left shoulder into his body in a protective posture, causing him to strike his right shoulder on the vehicle’s running board. He went to the emergency room and received medical treatment. He returned to work the next day and worked until he underwent a second left shoulder surgery. The employee filed claims seeking benefits for his left shoulder injury and right shoulder injury. The claim involving the left shoulder was filed against a second insurer

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If you are injured at work, it is important to make sure that you receive wage benefits compensation for your medical bills that are related to your injury. The Massachusetts workers’ can be difficult to navigate, especially if you are also struggling to overcome painful injuries and major disruption in your life. At Pulgini & Norton, our experienced team of Boston work injury lawyers is standing by and ready to help you navigate your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

In a recent claim, the employee claimed that he suffered two injuries. The first was to his left shoulder and the second was to his back. The employer’s insurer accepted liability and paid benefits for the employee’s missed wages. Several months later, the insurer canceled the benefits on a number of grounds including an allegation that the injuries stemmed from a pre-existing injury, that the employee could not prove a causal relationship between his job duties and the injuries, and disability.

The employee then filed a claim seeking maximum benefits for his injuries. The judge awarded benefits for the shoulder injury but not the back injury. Both parties filed appeals. Eventually, the worker sought compensation for the reasonable cost of a shoulder surgery, but the judge stated that the employee sought medical benefits in a general sense. The judge also concluded based on medical opinions admitted in evidence that the employee had reached maximum medical improvement and that the surgery was not necessary. The judge awarded benefits for the worker’s lost wages and the parties appealed again.

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There are some instances of work-related injuries where the employee is able to recover to full capacity. In other instances, the employee faces a lifetime of pain and physical limitations. Ensuring that you receive the compensation and medical expenses reimbursement that you deserve is a key aspect of navigating the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. As seasoned Boston work injury lawyers, we are committed to helping injured workers and their families to secure the outcome that they deserve.

A recent claim explores a situation where an injured worker suffered permanent injuries. The worker was a delivery driver who claimed that she suffered an injury to her leg when she was stepping out of her large delivery truck and into a pothole. She received temporary incapacity benefits and filed a claim for additional benefits. The employer, a self-insurer, accepted liability for the accident but challenged the extent of the disability and the employee’s earning capacity.

The worker underwent an independent medical examination and the parties submitted additional medical evidence. The judge ultimately adopted the opinion of the medical examiner stating that the worker suffered from a series of serious complications including complex regional pain syndrome. The doctor who authored the report also reported that there was no doubt that the work accident caused the injury. The judge also adopted the employee’s testimony that she experienced chronic pain that caused her to wake up multiple times during the night and that although she took serious medications like Valium and Tramadol it did not provide her with meaningful pain relief.

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In a trial or any other court proceeding, we expect to receive fair treatment. This includes having our case heard before an impartial judge. When you are injured at work, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This is a complex process with many different steps and countless rules that apply. If this is your first work injury, it can be difficult to know if you are receiving fair treatment and whether you should object to something that is taking place. Our dedicated team of Boston work injury lawyers is standing by to help you protect your right to compensation following an on-the-job accident.

In a recent claim, the insurer made several objections to the outcome of a claim proceeding on the basis that the judge was not impartial. The employee who filed the claim suffered knee and back injuries in 2014 and received benefits for a period of time. Eventually, an independent medical examiner concluded that the woman reached a point of medical improvement and that her disability lasted only six months. The judge adopted portions of three different reports to conclude that she was permanently disabled, however.

The insurer appealed on the basis that cobbling together phrases from three opinions revealed the judge’s impartiality. The insurer won this appeal and the reviewing judge remanded the matter for further considerations. On remand, the judge stood by his original decision and stated that he did not act impartially. The insurer appealed again, asking that the appellate court reassign the matter to a new judge.

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Workers’ compensation cases involve many different steps and determinations, including an analysis of whether you have reached maximum medical improvement and whether you are able to pursue meaningful work in another position either in the same field or another field. As dedicated Boston work accident lawyers, we have handled many claims on behalf of injured workers and helped them to secure the outcomes that they deserve.

In a recent case, the injured worker was a nurse who provided direct patient care. She suffered an injury to her lower back in 2016 when she was adjusting a patient, resulting in immediate lower back pain that radiated to her right leg. She went to the emergency room at the end of her shift. Ultimately, she did not reach a point of recovery that allowed her to return to her regular job duties, but she did return to work in a clerical capacity with reduced hours. This still caused her to experience pain, however, and required her to take more time from work.

The woman filed a claim seeking temporary total incapacity benefits, which was eventually granted. The employer paid the employee roughly $937.69 in benefits per week based on an average weekly wage of $1,622.82. The judge also required the employer to pay benefits based on the employee’s actual wages for a specific period of time. The insurer appealed and the worker underwent an impartial medical examination, culminating in the only medical report submitted in evidence. According to the report, the worker reached her maximum medical improvement and continued to experience lower back pain limiting her physical abilities.

At the appeal hearing, the employee provided testimony about her pain and limitations as well as her efforts to find work. The judge found this testimony credible and adopted the findings of the medical report. The insurer appealed again, arguing that the judge earned in assessing the worker’s earning capacity and disability findings. The appellate court rejected these arguments, first finding that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the judge’s finding that the employee was disabled for all periods listed in her claim for benefits. Based on the conclusions in the medical report, specifically finding that she had reached maximum medical improvement, it was reasonable for the judge to conclude that she was disabled at the specified time and that she was still experiencing serious pain.

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Injuries and medical conditions can be incredibly complicated, especially if they leave you unable to return to work in the same capacity. In a workers’ compensation case, one of the most important steps assessing your vocational options following the accident. If you cannot return to the same level of work, it may mean that you are eligible for vocational training and/or benefits. The dedicated Boston work injury lawyers at Pulgini & Norton have helped numerous individuals throughout the region with understanding their right to compensation in the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system.

In a recent case, the employee was working on a roof when the sheet of plywood that he was holding started to blow away in a gust of wind. He held onto the plywood, but the wind gust was strong, and he felt immediate pain in his shoulder. He went to a hospital and complained of a dislocated shoulder but ultimately returned to work. Three months later, he experienced a pop in his right shoulder when the bathtub that he was moving with another employee slipped. He went to the emergency room but left upon deciding that the wait time was too long. He worked for eight more months and reported to the hospital in 2010 with shoulder pain. He eventually was unable to report to work because of the pain.

After filing a claim for disability benefits, the worker was diagnosed with a right shoulder strain, chronic instability, and recurrent dislocations. The doctor who examined the worker concluded that these injuries were directly related to his occupation and the original plywood accident. He also concluded that the man was now permanently partially disabled. The presiding judge awarded only temporary total incapacitation benefits, however. The man tried to return to work but left when he was unable to lift a hammer due to the pain. He sought other employment but was forced to quit when the pain was still too great. Shortly after starting a vocational plan, he became incarcerated.

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Work-related injuries at work can lead to devastating injuries, but many workers try to push through their pain so that they can continue working. In some instances, the employer may try to reassign an employee to light-duty work in order to allow them time to recover while still earning wages. Some work injuries also involve a variety of symptoms and ongoing conditions that require extended medical treatment and analysis. This can make it more challenging for an employer to accept liability for your injury and pay you the benefits that you deserve. As dedicated Boston work injury lawyers, we will ensure that you receive the fair outcome that you deserve in your workers’ compensation claim.

In a recent appellate opinion, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered a claim where the injured worker suffered a work-related injury and spent the next few years undergoing different treatments and analyses to diagnose and address his injuries. Throughout this period, the employee reportedly made many attempts to return to work and even worked on light-duty status for a time. The employee suffered a slip and fall injury while working as a patrolman. he broke his fall with his right arm resulting in serious injuries to that extremity. He returned to work but continued to experience pain. He filed a claim for temporary incapacity benefits as well as medical expenses reimbursement, which he received.

Based on the employee’s good faith attempts to return to work, his lack of improvement in response to conservative medical treatment, his need for surgery, his increased pain, and the restrictions he experienced in his daily life, the judge concluded that the employee was totally disabled as a result of the injury and that he could not find work in the open labor market. The insurer appealed.

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