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 the 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.
These causes of action are known as a ‘third party claims’ and allow the employee to pursue remedies not available to them under the workers compensation statute including pain and suffering as well as loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is a cause of action that is available to the spouse of an injured person and is based on the impact that the spouse’s injuries have had on their lives. Workers compensation only provides benefits to spouses when the injuries result in death. In addition, the workers compensation statute generally only provides the injured worker with limited lost wage reimbursement, payment of their medical expenses and some minimal loss of function benefits. Whereas the amputation of a major hand may only result in a payment of approximately $40,000.00 under the workers compensation statute, such injury may be worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in a civil law suit.
Other causes of action may also arise out of a work-related injury. If your injury results in an inability to engage in any type of substantial gainful activity for a period of one year or more, you may also have the right to pursue social security disability benefits. If you return to work following a work-related injury only to be terminated a short time later for pretextual reasons, you may also have a cause of action for wrongful termination or discrimination.
While many attorneys and law firms specialize in either workers’ compensation claims, civil personal injury claims, social security disability or employment claims, at Keches Law Group, we have attorneys with the capability to handle all of these causes of action. Clients of the Massachusetts Law Firm of the Keches Law Group are often provided with a team of lawyers to handle all aspects of their case. Keches Law Group is one of the oldest, largest and most respected injury law firms in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and New England. Our attorneys are available to meet with individuals suffering from injuries and their families at one of our offices located throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you are unable to travel to meet with us at our office, we will make arrangements to meet with you at your home or other convenient location.