A Framingham, Massachusetts resident was hit by a car in June of 2016 while at work. This man suffered a shoulder and a foot injury. Attorney Chuck Pappas of Mahaney & Pappas, LLP represented this man in both his Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim and his third party personal injury case. Attorney Pappas was able to secure a $100,000 settlement from the third-party injury case and get the workers’ compensation lien reduced by nearly seventy-five (75%) percent.
Summary of the Accident, Injuries and Treatment
On a nice June day in 2016 this client was at work in Framingham, Massachusetts. Just before 3:00 pm, this worker was taking out the trash. As he walked through the parking lot toward the dumpster, a woman was backing up her motor vehicle and failed to see our client. Her carelessness caused her to back right into our client knocking him to the ground. The accident caused this worker to suffer serious injuries to his right shoulder and left foot.
A witness called 911 and an ambulance rushed to the scene. Our client was treated on scene by EMTs and transported to the emergency room in Natick, MA. Initially, the worker was thought to have a right shoulder contusion and a left foot contusion. He was in a lot of pain and was ordered to remain out of work because of his injuries and to follow up with an orthopedic doctor.
After he was examined by the orthopedic doctor, he began physical therapy. But, after an unsuccessful course of physical therapy, his orthopedic doctor ordered an MRI of our client’s shoulder. The MRI showed a torn rotator cuff, which required surgical intervention. Ultimately, this man had a reverse total shoulder replacement arthroplasty. Also, diagnostic testing of this worker’s foot revealed a nondisplaced fracture of a bone in his left foot.
The Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Personal Injury Claim
At the time of the accident, this client was working three different jobs. Attorney Pappas managed to get this worker on workers’ compensation benefits but realized that the workers’ compensation insurance company wasn’t paying his client the proper amount of disability benefits that he deserved. In Massachusetts, an injured worker is entitled to disability benefits from workers’ compensation based upon his or her average weekly wage. When a worker is employed by more than one insured employer at the time of his or her work injury, however, the total earnings from the several insured employers shall be considered in determining the average weekly wage. This is known as concurrent employment. In this situation, the average weekly wages from the worker’s concurrent employment are added together to determine the injured worker’s average weekly wage used to calculate the amount of weekly disability benefits. The higher the average weekly wage, the higher the disability benefits.
Attorney Pappas obtained the wage information from all employers, and after thorough negotiations with the workers’ compensation insurance company, managed to get his client nearly twice as much per week than the insurance company initially began to pay.
Because this client was hurt on the job by a third party, a third-party personal injury claim was filed with the auto insurance company that insured the woman who hit this worker. The claim asserted that the woman was negligent in backing up her car and hitting this worker. It was further claimed that this worker’s injuries were directly caused by this accident. Following settlement negotiations, the worker received a settlement for the full auto insurance policy limits of $100,000. This wasn’t the end, though.
The Workers’ Compensation Lien and How it Was Significantly Reduced
Since this client was injured on the job, the workers’ compensation insurance company had a lien on the recovery from the third-party personal injury settlement. In Massachusetts a workers’ compensation insurer has the right to be reimbursed from the recovery from a third party personal injury claim for all benefits paid to the injured employee.
The workers’ compensation lien was significant and continued to increase with every doctor’s appointment and disability check this client received. When the workers’ compensation insurer refused to reduce their lien to an amount that Attorney Pappas determined was fair, he filed a lawsuit and sought to petition the Superior Court to review and approve the allocation of the settlement.
Based upon his knowledge and experience with injury cases, Attorney Pappas knew that a workers’ compensation lien does not extend to damages allocated for the injured worker’s pain and suffering or his or her spouse’s loss of consortium recovered in the third party personal injury claim. Allocating amounts to pain and suffering and loss of consortium, therefore, protects a significant amount of the third-party settlement from the workers’ compensation lien.
Before the settlement petition was scheduled to be heard by the judge, the workers’ compensation insurance company agreed to reduce their lien significantly. In the end, the lien was reduced by almost seventy-five (75%) percent, which provided our client with a much larger amount of compensation from the settlement.
Even after the settlement of the third-party personal injury claim, this injured worker continued to collect workers' compensation benefits.
Injured in an Accident? Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you have been injured in an accident and have questions about what your rights are or what should be done, feel free to call us at 508-879-3500, or contact us online.
We offer complimentary case evaluations and are more than happy to answer your questions and explain how we may be able to help you.