Massachusetts Work Related Injuries

Massachusetts workers who are injured on the job often do not know where to turn if the insurer rejects their claim. There were nearly 70,000 workplace related injuries and illnesses in Massachusetts last year according to a report that was compiled with help from several agencies including Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s office.

Most Common Injury and illnesses
Fortunately, most of the injuries and illness that occurred in Massachusetts were not fatal. Some of the most common injuries reported included hearing loss, respiratory problems and skin conditions. Employees were divided among a number of industries with the most injury and illness reports occurring in construction and manufacturing, education and health services, and state government.

What happens after an accident or reported injury
Employees have an obligation to report workplace injuries and illnesses to their employers within five working days. After that, employers have an obligation to report to their insurance company who must contact you within 14 calendar days. If you don’t hear from the insurer, you may consider contacting the Department of Industrial Accidents Office of Insurance and you should also consider contacting a Massachusetts personal injury attorney.

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Massachusetts Laws and Regulations Regarding Swimming Pools

In Massachusetts if you are the owner of a private pool, either as an individual, corporation or perhaps part of a club or association, or if you manage a semi-public or a pool open to the public you are responsible for knowing the regulations and laws regarding pool safety.

Finding laws or regulations that govern safety issues for pools in Massachusetts can be a bit difficult. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted the 2009 International Building Code, which governs swimming pool enclosures and safety devices. Here are several codes and regulations often overlooked by pool owners.

Massachusetts code states that residential pool owners must have a barrier covering their pool when not in use. The barrier should not have openings in it that would allow the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere. The pool should also have self-closing gates. [Read more…]

Premises Liability and Massachusetts Law

In essence, Premises Liability deals with the proper maintenance of public and private property. Examples of those affected by premises liability can include but are not limited to landlords, restaurant owners, and store owners. Under Massachusetts law, owners and managers are required to maintain and secure their property to avoid unsafe or hazardous conditions that could cause residents or guests harm.

During the winter months, premises accidents increase due to inadequate maintenance and removal of snow and ice. Slip and fall accidents are the most common and can result in serious physical injury such as fractures, broken bones, sprains, and back injuries.

Examples of Premises Liability
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Swimming accidents
  • Liquor liability
  • Snow and ice accidents
  • Faulty electrical equipment/wiring
  • Inadequate building security
  • Stairway or disability ramp accidents
  • Elevator or escalator accidents
  • Balcony or porch collapse
  • Diving accidents
  • Sidewalk accidents
[Read more…]

Employee Rights: Dealing with Hiring, Minimum Fair Wage Law, Blue Laws and FMLA

Employee rights in Massachusetts have many of the same protections you’ll find in most other states when it comes to the hiring process, payments, medical leave and job termination. If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against in your job while residing in Massachusetts, take a look at what rights you actually have. You’ll discover you have more legal protection than you might think.

The Hiring Process

A company that hires someone at will is essentially saying that you can be fired for any reason at any time. Although signing these agreements may not be advisable by an attorney, the fact of the matter is if you want the job you’ll need to sign but perhaps may be able to modify the agreement with your employer. Even if you sign an agreement in order to obtain a job, you still have many rights when fired for other reasons.

For instance, you shouldn’t be fired if it’s because the employer doesn’t want to pay you. Other public policy reasons for wrongful termination in Massachusetts include an employee having to do jury duty, refusing to give information on a fellow employee or testifying at a criminal trial against the company. Outside of those, however, an employer can still fire you for any other reason if you have an at-will agreement.

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Whistleblower Suit of Government Employee

After making several written and verbal complaints to her supervisors about important safety concerns, the City’s school department terminated a special needs school bus driver. She had complained about the lack of training and staffing on special needs vans, which ultimately led to City personnel and students suffering injuries. The City claimed she was terminated for violating the City’s confidentiality policy. Her complaints were ignored and she was fired. We brought suit under the Massachusetts Whistleblower Statute, Mass. Gen. Law ch.149, § 185. That statute protects government employees who voice concerns about public safety issues.

Result: The case was tried to a jury in Superior Court and after a week long trial, the bus driver was awarded back pay and over $35,000.00 attorneys fees.

Will Dispute – Probate Litigation

Represented the personal representative, who was the daughter of the decedent in defending against numerous claims and complaints brought by other family member seeking larger portion of the estate. The other family member engaged in various litigation tactics including bringing claims of fraud and embezzlement against the daughter. We litigated these matters in the Bristol County Probate and Family Court and all the claims were settled favorably for our client.

Fiduciary Embezzlement – Probate Litigation

A duly appointed personal representative of an estate, who was the decedent’s daughter, failed to account for the bulk of her mother’s estate to her siblings who where entitled heirs. Suit was brought in the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court where we were able to force the personal representative to provide a full accounting. A sizable judgment against the personal representative was obtained for the full amount of the money that was stolen plus attorney’s fees was obtained. Through aggressive collection efforts, we were able to seize a substantial part of the stolen funds for the heirs.

Discrimination Disability – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Emergency Medical Technician was terminated after his employer learned that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his military service. We brought a complaint before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) for discrimination based upon his disability. The employer claimed that the EMT was fired for violation of their patient handling policies. We were able to show that the employer’s reasons for termination were pre-textual, as the alleged wrongdoing by the EMT occurred more than six weeks prior to the termination, and the EMT was fired two days after the employer learned of the PTSD.

Race Discrimination

A cable services salesman was harassed by his supervisor after the supervisor learned that the salesman, who is white, was dating an African American woman.  The salesman was subjected to humiliating emails and racial slurs from his supervisor.  Ultimately the salesman resigned due to the hostile work environment.  We brought a complaint before the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).   The employer alleged that the salesman quit to get new job.   The EEOC supplied a neutral mediator to hear and determine the case.

Result: The matter was settled with the salesman obtaining approximately one years pay.

What You Need to Know About Filing Personal Injury Claims in Massachusetts

When you are injured in an accident, the pain and stress of dealing with your injury can be overwhelming. But you do not have to go it alone. A personal injury claim can help you receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma.

What is a personal injury claim?

A personal injury claim is a civil lawsuit which alleges that your injury was caused by the negligence of another. It is not used for damaged property, or in cases when the defendant had the intent to injure. Most personal injury claims are the result of car accidents, work related accidents, trips and falls, and product malfunction accidents.

What do I need to do?

If you would like to file a personal injury claim, it is highly recommended that you first engage the services of an attorney. An attorney will be well-versed in state law and will research all the pertinent facts of your case. When you are injured it can be difficult to keep track of the legal process, and having an attorney will ease your mind. Note: In Massachusetts you have 3 years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file within this time you will lose your right to do so at any time in the future.

How is my personal injury claim decided?

Your attorney must prove the following: duty, negligence, proximate cause, and damages. This means they must use evidence to show that the defendant was obligated to maintain a certain level of conduct towards you (duty), that they failed to maintain that level (negligence), that your injuries were a direct result of that breach of duty (proximate care), and that you suffered real and demonstratable injury (damages). Massachusetts has a comparative negligence law, which means that the defendant can claim that you were also being negligent, and that your negligence caused or contributed to your injuries. [Read more…]