In May 2014 the client, who was employed as a laborer/gravedigger for a local archdiocese
suffered a catastrophic stroke while in the course of his duties. The extent of his disability was never an issue given the regrettable fact he permanently requires a wheelchair. The archdiocese, however, flatly denied his disability claim alleging they had no obligation to the employee and that his medical condition had nothing to do with his work activity. A judge who heard the matter at a pretrial conference did order ongoing disability benefits for the client. The archdiocese appealed and the matter was fully tried. In February 2017, some 2 1/2 years after the injury, the hearing judge issued his written decision determining the disabled employees injuries were, in fact, caused by his work activity that the employee was entitled to ongoing disability, as well as, medical benefits. The client continues on permanent disability to this day.
The client filed for Social Security disability as a result of physical and emotional conditions. Among her diagnosed conditions were adult onset diabetes with severe neuropathic pain bilaterally in her lower extremities, degenerative disc disease and a severe reactive depression
to the death of her mother. The matter came on for a hearing with a federal administrative law judge in September 2016 with a fully favorable decision being issued a month later. Shortly thereafter, in November 2016, the Social Security Appeals Council overturned the favorable decision sending the matter back to the hearing judge to take further evidence. In August 2017 the matter came on, for the second time, for a full hearing on the extent of the clients disability. Vindication for the client was had as, after submission of additional medical evidence and oralargument, a further "Fully Favorable" decision was issued on behalf of of the client.
This was a regrettable and sad claim as the client was not actually the injured worker; it was his spouse. The injured worker had slipped and fallen on ice hurting his hip. He began receiving workers compensation voluntarily as the fall was not questioned. After a year of unsuccessful conservative medical care the client underwent total hip replacement surgery. The morning after surgery, while still an inpatient in Boston, the client was found unresponsive. He was pronounced dead. Even though the client was still an inpatient following his work-related surgery the insurer refused to commence widows benefits. The insurer argued the death, while regrettable, was unrelated to the surgery. The insurer maintained this position, in part, because no malpractice claim was ever filed against the surgeon. Litigation was commenced and expert witnesses retained. On the day of trial the matter was finally resolved for $175,000.00. *It should be noted that Massachusetts workers compensation claims do not pay for 'pain and suffering'. Settlements, if they occur at all, are based on the insurer's future exposure to pay disability compensation. In this case the client was 57 years old and a minimum compensation rate recipient because he was a low wage earner. The settlement entered into represented some 15 years future disability compensation for his spouse.
At approximately 5 AM on a date in February 2016 the client was driving a moped home from work. He worked nights. The moped was road legal with head and tail lights. In spite of this a car driver attempted to make a left-hand turn in front of ‘Mr. R’ whom he did not see. The client crashed into the side of the car and flipped over the vehicle landing on the roadway suffering a broken right leg. Surgery, including a steel rod, was required to repair the leg. The client did go on to have a full recovery and return to normal duties. The insurer defended the matter arguing that ‘Mr. R’ did not have the right-of-way. Litigation was commenced. The matter settled, shortly thereafter, for the full $100,000.00 policy limit of the car driver.
The client worked at paper mill in central Massachusetts. Over the course of time he developed pain in his left shoulder because of repetitive activity. An MRI showed him to have a partially torn rotator cuff. The client was given a modified duty job and continued to work until receiving a layoff approximately six months later. A claim for disability benefits was filed on his behalf and denied by the insurer. The insurer argued he had worked after being injured and, if he could do that, he could go work someplace else. The client eventually went on to have unsuccessful rotator cuff repair surgery. A vocational expert was hired who gave an opinion that 'Mr. B', who had less than a high school education, worked as a laborer all of his adult life and did not speak English, was completely unemployable on the open labor market. After trial the judge determined the client was partially disabled from his layoff up until surgery and, from surgery onward, was entitled to total disability benefits. The matter settled for $225,000.00 (or 13 years future disability compensation) shortly after the judge's decision issued.
The client, 'Mr. K', was riding his bike through a crosswalk . He had the right-of-way. A motor vehicle, however, did not see him and rolled through the intersection bumping into the client at approximately 5 mph and knocking him to the ground. The event was independently witnessed. The client went to hospital where x-rays were normal. Thereafter, he lost approximately two weeks from work. The client received conservative care from a physical therapist for about two months and then, approximately, two months more with a chiropractor. Ultimately the client was diagnosed as having sustained strain/sprain type of injuries. He fully recovered. The matter settled for the drivers full policy limits of $20,000.00.