Order Awarding Injured Massachusetts Worker Assistance in Securing Handicapped Housing Upheld

In Deoliveira v. Calumet Construction Corp., et al., an insurance company filed an appeal with the Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board after it was ordered to pay workers’ compensation benefits to an uninsured sub-contractor who was injured in a serious fall accident while working on a Massachusetts construction site.  According to the insurer, an administrative law judge misapplied § 18 when he ordered the company’s insured, a general contractor, to pay workers’ compensation benefits to the hurt man because the judge failed to identify the worker’s employer.  In addition, the insurer claimed the judge made an arbitrary and capricious determination regarding the injured worker’s average weekly wage, and he claimed the judge acted beyond the scope of his power when he assigned a case manager to help the man secure appropriate handicapped housing.

After examining the record in the case, the Board stated the judge reviewed a great deal of conflicting testimony and made extensive findings of fact.  Despite this, the judge failed to make a finding regarding who was the injured man’s employer at the time of his workplace accident.  Despite this error, the Board stated the worker successfully proved his entitlement to recover workers’ compensation benefits under § 18.  Under the law, a Massachusetts employer is liable for workers’ compensation benefits if the employer hires an independent contractor to perform the insured person’s work, subject to certain exceptions.  Since the employee successfully established that § 18 applied, the Board held that the judge properly awarded the man workers’ compensation benefits.  Still, the Board recommitted the case for findings regarding the respective employment relationships between the various parties working on the Massachusetts construction project.

Next, the Board stated the method the judge used to calculate the hurt worker’s average weekly wage was factually sound and provided a reasonable approximation of the man’s income.  In addition, the Board ruled that the judge did not act beyond the scope of his authority when he issued a § 30 benefits award.  The Board stated the injured employee was not required to prove he needed handicapped housing, since the parties stipulated it was medically necessary.

Ultimately, the Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board affirmed the administrative law judge’s decision regarding the worker’s average weekly wage and his need for handicapped housing assistance.

If you were seriously injured at work in Massachusetts, you should contact a knowledgeable Boston workers’ compensation attorney to help you protect your right to receive disability and other benefits. The skillful lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. are available to help you recover the compensation you deserve based on the extent of your workplace accident harm. To discuss your rights with an experienced workplace accident lawyer, do not hesitate to contact Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. online or call us today at 800-367-0871.

Additional Resources:

Deoliveira v. Calumet Construction Corp., et al., Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board Nos. 001428-11; 000244-11; 002156-11; 002487-11; 004377-11 (October 27, 2015)

Workers’ Compensation