Massachusetts In-Home Care Provider Seeks Workers’ Compensation After Falling Down Stairs

A workplace injury can be both devastating and disruptive to a victim’s life. If you’ve been hurt while working, our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys understand how much of a nightmare this situation can be, which is why we will zealously try to get you the workers’ compensation you deserve.

In a recent case, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals dealt with a case in which a live-in care provider was seeking workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that she claims were sustained while working in the home of an elderly woman. The elderly woman’s daughter had made the arrangements for the worker. The worker was given room and board in exchange for providing two hours of daily care to the elderly woman by sitting with her during the day, walking with her if she got up since the elderly woman was thought to be a fall risk, and doing other work such as washing dishes, sweeping and cleaning the bathroom. The worker stated that, in reality, she worked at least five hours a day and even up to 12 hours a day when there was no one else who could sit with the elderly woman.

One day, as the worker was walking down the stairs of the home, she fell and sustained an injury. She was no longer able to work and moved out. The worker then filed a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund (WCTF) because the elderly woman did not carry workers’ compensation insurance. Due to a number of issues in the case, the judge determined that the worker was an employee of the elderly woman and her daughter. The judge also determined that the employee’s injury did, in fact, arise out of and was in the course of her employment. As such, the WCTF and the injured worker settled.

In addition, the workers’ compensation commissioner determined that the worker and daughter had entered into a formal work agreement through their initial arrangement. The daughter argued that the verbal agreement was limited to “two hours” of work per day and there was no obligation for the worker to provide any help beyond that. The appeals court dismissed this issue because the daughter had not raised it at any other time during the proceedings.

The daughter also objected to the settlement award stating that she was not given a chance to be involved in the negotiation of the settlement’s terms. The court rejected this argument explaining that while the daughter was not present at the oral settlement conference, she was present at an earlier status conference in which the settlement was discussed at length and during which the employer’s attorney had ample opportunity to present her case and voice her objections.

Some workers’ compensation cases are crystal clear whereas other cases can get quite complicated. If you were injured on the job, you need to reach out to a seasoned Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney without delay. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates, P.C., our experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys understand the nuances of this area of law and can effectively advocate for your rights. For a free case evaluation, please do not hesitate to call us today at 1-800-262-9200. Alternatively, you can also contact us through our website.