July 1, 2008

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company will not pay because I have a preexisting condition. Don’t accept that because you can get paid.

When an employee suffers an aggravation of a pre-existing condition as a result of an injury at work in Massachusetts the injured party is entitled to be paid Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation benefits provided that the aggravation is a major cause of the resulting disability.  It does not have to be the only major cause, but it must be a major cause.  Sound confusing?  Of course, it does, and insurers know it.


When someone tells you that you cannot receive Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation benefits because you have a pre-existing condition do not accept that explanation.  The law requires a causal relationship between a work related accident and disability in order for one to receive Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Law also recognizes that many, if not most, people have pre-existing conditions that do not require medical care or affect daily activities until something like a work place accidents occurs.  If that accident is a major contributing cause of disability, then a person who suffers that accident at work is entitled to Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation benefits (This is applicable in any accident for that matter including motor vehicle accidents).


If your pre-existing condition results from a prior work related accident, then the standard is even easier to satisfy as the slightest aggravation of a pre-existing work related condition is compensable under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act.  In all events, do not accept the simple statement that you are not entitled to benefits because you have a pre-existing condition because more likely than not, that just is not true.


The examination of the issues associated with pre-existing conditions has been the subject of numerous appellate decisions as insurers and employees alike seek to distinguish the facts of each case.  Cases involving pre-existing conditions pose obstacles that an experienced Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help an injured worker overcome.


If you or someone you know has suffered an injury at work which involves a pre-existing condition, work related or not, you may be entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation payments for disability and/or medical care.  Speak with a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, by clicking here, or phoning Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll free at (617) 512-0939. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished, will be kept strictly confidential

June 27, 2008

Work Related Back Injuries and Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation

A work related back injury is perhaps the most common injury which results in claims under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act. And while it is the most common, it is also the injury which is most likely to be contested by the workers’ compensation insurance company. 


Workers’ compensation insurance companies routinely deny these claims, most often on the basis that the injured worker had a prior back injury. These denials are made even if the old back injury occurred years before the work related accident and the injured worker had performed his or her job without difficulty since that back injury years before. What’s more, the standard used to evaluate injuries of any body part previously injured complicates the case further. So, how does one approach this situation? 


The place to start is to give an accurate history of the injury to every medical provider who treats the injured worker. While it is understandable that one may be concerned that he or she injured his or her back previously, attempting to hide that information is not likely to succeed. Insurers have resources which they utilize to obtain information about anyone who makes a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim. And if the insurer knows that medical history, then the treating doctor should know the same. But keep in mind that an accurate history to the medical providers is most important, not for the claim, but the information that it provides to those who treat the injury as it may give the doctor additional insight to the injury. 

It is also essential that the medical providers understand how the injury occurred, and that it occurred on the job. It is also important that an injured worker describes the physical requirements of his or her job. One should not use a job title to describe his or her work, but rather explain in as much detail or possibility the job’s physical demands including how much time is spent lifting and carrying, sitting, standing and walking. Be sure to provide information about the weights lifted, and whether one experiences extremes in temperature at work. Do not assume that a doctor knows this information. In fact, the doctor may actually be mistaken about the physical requirements of a particular job, and assume that the injured worker can return to it. 

An employee who suffers a work related back injury must also be concerned when pain radiates, or moves from the low back down the leg, sometimes actually traveling into the foot. This radiating pain is often the result of a serious back injury. When one experiences such radiating pain, the treating doctor should be notified immediately. Early intervention when this type of pain occurs can reduce the long term effects of this symptom. 

When an employee suffers a low back injury at work, rest is often times the best treatment. However, if the pain persists, then a diagnostic test such as a MRI might be advised. Under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, permission from the workers compensation insurer must be obtained before that test is administered. Massachusetts adopted utilization review guidelines for the treatment of low back injuries, including diagnostic tests such as MRI, which should be consulted by the medical providers. Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation insurers must designate an Utilization Review Agent which should be contacted by the doctor prescribing the MRI, or the facility where it is to take place, before the test is given. This also applies to physical therapy and any other treatment plan, including surgery, developed to address a work related low back injury. 

Perhaps the most critical time in recovery from a back injury takes place when the injured worker begins to feel better. It is essential that the doctor’s advice with respect to restrictions be followed until the doctor changes them. When the injured worker begins to feel better it is a sign that the doctor’s treatment plan is working. That treatment plan, however, is a dynamic strategy which changes as the inured worker responds. Let the doctor make the changes to plan. One should not assume that because he or she feels better that physically that the injury has healed. Don’t take one step forward and two steps back. 

If you, or someone you know, has suffered a injury at work which involves a pre-existing condition, work related or not, Massachusetts workers’ compensation payments may be available for disability and/or medical care. Speak with a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, by clicking here, or phoning Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll free at (617) 512-0939. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished, will be kept strictly confidential.
June 26, 2008

Why don't we understand head injuries?

It was not so long ago that a blow to the head was thought to be a short-lived event with no long-term consequences.  That phrase that “Johnny was just not the same” after he got knocked out has taken on new meaning as the understanding of the intricacies of the brain have advanced.


What sometimes seems to be an innocent bump to the head can carry long term consequences.  When one sees stars after such a collision, it is time to take note, and to take action.


Any trauma to the brain has to be taken seriously.  There is no slight blow to the delicate tissue of the organ whose alteration, no matter how slight, can have profound consequences.  Modern medicine has taught us that it is dangerous, no, it is not very smart, to ignore even the slightest loss of consciousness.  When this occurs, get to a doctor, and get to one immediately.


The biggest problem which many who have suffered a brain injury encounter is that no one recognizes that a loss of consciousness has occurred.  Hospital personnel note no “LOC” in an injured worker’s chart, but that history is most often based upon a statement from the very person who lost consciousness, and then reports that he or she does not recall losing consciousness. 


Recognize that a loss of consciousness does not require that a person be found on the ground with his or her eyes closed.  A loss of consciousness occurs whenever one loses a sense of his or her surroundings.  Think of it as being out on your feet.  Whenever anyone is unable to recount what happened after a blow to the head that person has likely suffered a loss of consciousness and accompanying TBI, traumatic brain injury.


Do not be discouraged by the skepticism that a victim of a TBI encounters.  Diagnostic testing for a TBI is lacking.  Unlike a broken bone, a ruptured disc, or a torn rotator cuff, a TBI is not apparent in conventional diagnostic testing.  That does not mean that it does not exist; it means that it is difficult to prove.


If a family member or friend suffers such an injury at work do not dismiss it as something that will pass.  Be certain that the history is accurately recorded in the medical records, and look for signs of a traumatic brain injury –short-term memory loss; irritability; inability to recall the “right” word; and/or an inability to perform multiple seemingly simple tasks at the same time.  These are symptoms of a TBI, and need to be taken seriously, and treated immediately.


If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury at work you may be entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation payments for disability and/or medical care.  Speak with a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, by contacting a personal injury lawer at Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll free at (617) 512-0939. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished, will be kept strictly confidential.

June 23, 2008

Fung Wah Bus Crashes in New York City. One Killed, Others Injured.

NEW YORK . According to published reports, a passenger bus operated by Fung Wah Bus Transportation, Inc., with offices in Boston and Manhattan, collided this morning with a dump truck in New York City, killing a 57 year old woman as she waited to board the bus. Two police officers and several other persons were also reportedly treated for injuries. Fung Wah offers daily low-cost transportation between Boston and Manhattan . In September 2006 a Fung Wah bus rolled-over on Interstate 290 injuring 34 passengers.


Victims of bus crashes should consult with an attorney experienced in the area of bus accidents. Attorneys in Parker Scheer's Complex Personal Injury Practice Group have extensive experience representing victims of bus crashes. To speak with a member of Parker Scheer's Complex Personal Injury Practice Group, contact us at info@parkerscheer.com  or by telephone at (617) 512-0939 or (toll free) (617) 512-0939 seven days a week. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and all information provided is held in strict confidence.

June 11, 2008

Who Said that an Injured Employee Cannot Work while Receiving Workers’ Compensation?


Workers’ Compensation insurance companies spend a small fortune hiring private investigators who sneak around injured workers’ neighborhoods trying to snap a photo of someone helping to carrying in the groceries or take out the trash.  The insurance companies consider this to be evidence of “work”.  The investigators, thank the Lord, cannot follow the injured into their homes after they do these insignificant tasks, or else they might well hear something to the effect of:  “that really bothers my shoulder, I need to take a pain killer”; or, “My back is killing me, I am going to lay down on the couch for awhile”.  But, then again these investigators never disclose the pain which injured workers endure each day as they struggle to get better.



You never hear testimony from an investigator who sneaks into a physical therapy facility and watches someone grimace in pain as they work through their physical therapy.  And these sessions truly are work.  The kind of work an injured employee must do in order to recover.  So, if you are receiving workers’ compensation, and someone makes a remark about not working, let them know that you are working, working harder than ever before with one goal in mind-to get as better as possible as quickly as possible.



If you are receiving Massachusetts workers’ compensation payments, and are being denied the opportunity to pursue the type of work you need to do to recover from a work related injury speak with a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, by clicking here, or phoning Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll free at (617) 512-0939. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished, will be kept strictly confidential.

May 28, 2008

Two MBTA Trains Collide In Newton, Massachusetts. Many injured.

According to published reports, the train crash which occurred in the Waban section of Newton, Massachusetts on the evening of May 28th, is likely to claim a number of seriously injured passengers. One of the train operators has already died. While it is clearly too early to know what caused this terrible accident, representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigative unit are likely already on route to the accident scene to secure the site and preserve critical evidence. Less than two months ago, as many as 150 people were reportedly injured when a run-away CSX freight car struck an MBTA commuter train carrying approximately 300 passengers. Last month, the MBTA announced that it had filed a law suit against CSX and the lumber yard from which the run-away car emerged, citing negligence. While the family of the train operator who was killed would be limited to a workers' compensation claim (an employee may not sue his employer "in tort" for negligence in Massachusetts), the same is not true for the passengers aboard the Green Line trains. Those passengers would be entitled to recover damages from the responsible party (likely, in part, to include the MBTA) and possibly other parties who may be found liable for the crash. Potential defendants, other than the MBTA may include designers and/or manufacturers of any defective train components identified through the investigation.


Victims of the Newton train crash should consult with an attorney experienced in the area of train accident litigation. Attorneys in Parker Scheer's Complex Personal Injury Practice Group have extensive experience representing victims of train crashes. To speak with a member of Parker Scheer's Complex Personal Injury Practice Group, contact Attorney Eric J. Parker at (617) 512-0939 or (toll free) (617) 512-0939 seven days a week. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and all information provided is held in strict confidence.

May 28, 2008

Two MBTA Green Line Trolley Cars Collide in Newton, Massachusetts. Many Injuries Reported

NEWTON MAY 28, 2008



Two MBTA Green Line trolley cars collided at approximately 6:00 PM on Wednesday evening, May 28th, near Dorset Road in the Waban section of Newton, Massachusetts. According to published reports the two trains were on route to Woodland Station, when one of the trains rear-ended the other, causing both trains to derail. Numerous passengers were reported injured in the crash, with at least one victim requiring a Med-Flight transport to Boston Medical Center. Although the crash occurred during the peak of the rush hour commute, the total number of injured passengers was not immediately known.

Attorney Eric J. Parker, director of Parker Scheer's Complex Personal Injury Group has successfully represented victims of past Massachusetts train accidents, and is a member of the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association. For more information about how Parker Scheer can assist you or someone you know with a potential claim related to the Newton MBTA train crash, contact us or telephone us (toll free) at (617) 512-0939. An experienced attorney is available to speak with you at no cost seven days a week.