The employee was a painter who miraculously survived a fall of nearly 100 feet while painting on a job site out of state. He sought counsel more than one year following this accident because he was being paid under the law of the state where he was injured at what he felt was a very low rate, but which was, in fact, the maximum rate available in that state. His case was originally denied by the Administrative Judge following a hearing at the Department of Industrial Accidents on the basis that Massachusetts lacked jurisdiction over the accident. Employee counsel successfully argued that his contract of hire was consummated in Massachusetts which established jurisdiction here, and allowed the injured worker to obtain a substantially higher weekly benefit.
A claim for Permanent and Total Disability benefits was then pursued along with a claim to increase benefits awarded in the original decision under Section 51A of the Workers’ Compensation Act. This claim for the increase was litigated and ultimately denied by a full panel of the Appeals Court. The permanent and total disability claim, however, was successful.
A claim for double compensation was then filed and tried for several days. The basis for the claim was the willful and wanton misconduct of the employer which failed to provide adequate fall protection as required by OSHA regulations. A hearing decision, which awarded the employee a doubling of all past and future benefits was entered.
The case was settled for $1.2 Million after this hearing decision and prior to hearing of the case’s third appeal. The settlement was approved after legal battles were fought on behalf of the injured worker for nearly 10 years.
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