A landscaper was struck by a commercial truck in Dover, Massachusetts while on the job. He spent weeks in the emergency room in Boston after the accident and required several surgeries to repair his injuries. This man and his family knew they needed serious help. His family began searching for the best legal team to help and contacted Mahaney & Pappas, LLP.
Upon receiving the call, Attorney Chuck Pappas immediately met this injured worker and his family in the emergency room of the Boston hospital. Attorney Pappas explained that this man had two separate injury claims. One was a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim and the other was a third-party personal injury claim. After meeting with Chuck, the injured worker and his family chose to hire our personal injury firm to help with both claims.
Summary of the Accident
A Framingham, Massachusetts resident spent the last 15 years working hard as a landscaper during the day and a custodian at night and on the weekends. This hard-working man worked tirelessly to earn enough money to provide for his young son and family. One unfortunate day, everything changed for this man. On a sunny day in June, this worker woke up very early in the morning to report to work as many landscapers do in the spring and summer. He and his co-workers were directed to perform landscaping services at several residential homes in Metrowest. The final home of the day was in Dover, Massachusetts.
This worker and his colleagues finished up their landscaping services at this home in Dover and began loading the landscaping tools and equipment onto their employer’s trailer. The landscaping truck and trailer were parked on the side of the road. While this worker was standing next to the landscaping truck and helping load the equipment onto the trailer, a commercial delivery truck was driving down the same road.
The commercial truck was driving too fast for the roadway and suddenly and unexpectedly crashed into the rear of the landscaping trailer and truck. The significant impact of the accident caused a heavy metal toolbox to be propelled from the landscaping trailer into the air and strike this worker in the neck area. The accident also caused the worker to be thrown to the pavement causing him serious injuries.
The Dover Police Department quickly responded to the accident scene. The police officers investigated the crash and an ambulance quickly evaluated the injured worker and transported him to the emergency department of a Boston hospital.
Overview of the Injuries Suffered and Medical Treatment
This was a very serious trucking accident which resulted in severe injuries. At the emergency department, diagnostic tests were performed immediately. These tests revealed that the worker suffered fractured vertebra, a traumatic disc herniation in his neck, a comminuted fracture of his right knee and a spleen laceration.
The injures were so severe that they required immediate surgical intervention. This man underwent an open reduction and internal fixation to his right knee and an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in his neck. A couple of weeks later he also required a a splenic embolization to repair the spleen laceration.
Following the surgeries, this gentleman underwent months of physical therapy for both his right knee and his cervical spine. Although he made progress with physical therapy, he continued to experience pain and limited range of motion in his right knee. Thus, six months after the accident, he underwent another right knee operation to remove the hardware. After this surgery, he continued with physical therapy to help strengthen his knee and help with his range of motion.
Thankfully, this worker made a great recovery from his injuries. He worked very hard in physical therapy to get to a maximum medial improvement. Ultimately, he was discharge from therapy and his surgeons advised that he would not require any further operations.
The Legal Actions and How Mahaney & Pappas, LLP Helped
Since this man was in the course of his employment at the time of the accident, there were two legal actions available. One was a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim and the other was a third-party personal injury claim.
The Workers’ Compensation Claim
Attorney Chuck Pappas helped this man in both legal actions. The first step Attorney Pappas took was to make sure this injured worker was getting the disability benefits he deserved from workers’ compensation. The issue was that the workers’ compensation insurer was only paying this worker disability benefits based upon his average weekly wage earned from the landscaping job. This man, however, had a second job as a custodian. In Massachusetts, an injured worker’s disability benefits are based upon a worker’s average weekly wage at the time of the accident. When a worker has two jobs, the average weekly wages of both jobs are added together to arrive at the worker’s concurrent average weekly wage. This increases the amount of the weekly disability benefits an injured worker receives from workers’ compensation.
In order to make sure his client was getting the maximum disability benefits he deserved while out of work, Attorney Pappas quickly obtained the necessary documentation from his other job to support the increase in the worker’s average weekly wage. Upon obtaining this information, Attorney Pappas was able to successfully negotiate the increase in the worker’s average weekly wage by adding the average weekly wages of both jobs together. This resulted in the injured worker receiving nearly twice what he was initially being paid. This was done without lengthy delays associated with the need to file and litigate this issue, which resulted in our client getting the money he deserved quickly.
This man collected disability benefits for nearly two years. Once the injured worker reached an end of treatment, Attorney Pappas began negotiating a lump sum settlement for his client. Attorney Pappas was able to secure a $120,000 lump sum settlement for this injured worker. This settlement included the remaining temporary total disability benefits and a significant portion of permanent and total disability benefits.
The Third-Party Personal Injury Claim
From the beginning, Attorney Pappas commenced pursuit of the third-party personal injury claim against the trucking company and the truck driver. Our office immediately began investigating the crash and obtaining the necessary documentation to support a negligence claim. This included photographs of the accident scene and investigating and obtaining witness statements.
Initially, the trucking company denied any liability for the accident or our client’s injuries. The immediate investigation and witness statements were crucial in establishing that the truck driver was negligent in his operation of the commercial truck. The evidence supported that the truck driver was speeding at the time of the accident and was distracted from the safe operation of his commercial truck.
Experts were obtained to support the legal action. A medical expert was hired by Mahaney & Pappas, LLP to examine our client and provide a narrative report. The report summarized the accident victim’s diagnoses, treatment and provided an opinion regarding the injured worker’s impairment caused by the injuries and surgeries. This was instrumental in helping obtain fair compensation for this man.
Attorney Pappas was able to arrange for this personal injury action to be mediated in an attempt to obtain the financial compensation our client deserved. The mediation took place in Boston, MA. After approximately 5 hours at the mediation, Attorney Pappas obtained $775,000 for his client. Since this man was on the job at the time of the accident, the workers’ compensation insurer had a statutory lien on the third-party recovery. Attorney Pappas was able to negotiate the lien down by nearly half, which resulted in more of the settlement money for his client.
In the end, the total recovery for this client was $895,000 ($775,000 + $120,000).