Nursing Home Staff Injury Attorneys in Boston
Health care workers overall suffer higher-than-average rates of job-related injuries, compared to other industries and professions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nursing home staff injuries are incredibly common. In fact, nursing homes are considered one of the most dangerous workplaces in America, with risks exacerbated by limited patient mobility, patient confusion, high risk of exposure to infectious diseases and understaffing.
There are approximately 400 nursing homes in Massachusetts, with most employees - more than 60,000 - working as aides and certified nursing assistants. These are the individuals responsible for helping nursing home residents with the tasks of everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, and mobility. They may also be trained to check and monitor a resident's vital signs and report any changes to the registered nurse or supervisor on duty.
That does not mean such injuries are inevitable. Responsible long-term nursing care facilities that place emphasis on adequate staffing, safer work designs, proper training, and adequate supervision report far lower rates of worker injuries and illnesses.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our nursing home work injury attorneys recognize that when you are injured or fall ill because of job-related risks, it puts more than just your health in jeopardy. You risk your livelihood. Many nursing home employees ultimately exit the field due to work-related injuries. One survey by the Massachusetts Senior Care Association found nearly one-third of hired nursing aides don't last more than one year on the job.
The American Society of Safety Engineers estimated in a single year, healthcare workers cost $13 billion collectively, with nursing home workers reporting the highest injury rates, mostly involving:
- Sprains/ strains
- Back injuries
- Chemical exposure
The true scope and cost of these incidents are underestimated because some injured employees never report their injuries or seek workers' compensation. What many don't realize is these injuries and illnesses can compound over time, resulting in even higher medical bills and more lost work time.
Although we tend to think of jobs like construction or manufacturing as being the most perilous (and they are, in their own right), the reality is those employed at skilled nursing facilities are at higher risk. The BLS reports worker injury rates for those at nursing homes was 8.6 per 100 full-time employees, compared to 3.5 for building construction workers, 4.8 for those in tire manufacturing and 5.6 for those in coal mines.Fighting for Workers' Compensation in Massachusetts
The same way you give your all to your patients, we dedicate all we have to our clients in fighting to ensure they receive fair compensation for their work-related injuries.
First and foremost, this involves claims for workers' compensation. This is a no-fault system, required of virtually all employers per Massachusetts General Law c. 152 § 25A. That means even if you somehow were at-fault in causing your injury, so long as it happened in the course and scope of employment, you should be able to get your medical bills covered. If you are forced to take more than five days off work, you'll be entitled to collect 60 percent of your average weekly wages while you're out. If you are disabled long-term, you may be entitled to additional benefits, such as compensation for permanent loss of function or disfigurement, occupational training to help you find work in a different field.
Weekly minimum and maximum workers' compensation rates are set by statute, MGL c. 152 § 1, and are updated annually. As outlined by the state Labor and Workforce Department, one of the most recent minimum annual rates was $268 a week and maximum was $1,340. These benefits can run for up to 156 weeks.
Almost all employees of nursing homes had median wages below (sometimes far below) the national average of $33,200. That's one of the reasons why our attorneys will also explore other avenues of recovery, particularly if the work-related injuries or illness you suffered were serious.Third-Party Liability and SSDI
If there is evidence a third-party may be at least partially responsible for your injuries, we can help you determine the viability of a third-party liability claim. The benefit here is you can collect financially beyond just medical expenses and lost wages and pursue damages for pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment and (your spouse) loss of consortium. The trade-off, however, is the burden of proof is on you to prove fault.
Perhaps the most common third-party claims in nursing home worker injuries would involve defective products, such as lift machines. A product that is dangerously designed or manufactured and posed an unreasonable risk of injury when used as intended or expected can leave makers and distributors vulnerable to liability. Premises liability might be another possible third-party claim, but only if the property on which you were injured was owned/ operated by someone other than your employer and a dangerous condition on site that should have been mitigated or warned about was not addressed.
Claims could potentially be filed against someone who attacked in an act of violence but note that cases against patients have often failed as a matter of law. For example, the California Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in the 2014 case of Gregory v. Cott that a home health aide could not sue the family of an Alzheimer's patient who inflicted permanent injury while the aide tried to restrain her.
If your injury was serious and leaves you unable to work for a year or more, we may examine the possibility of filing for Social Security Disability Insurance. Nursing home employees pay into this program through their taxes, meaning it is an earned benefit. If you are eligible, the amount you receive will be based not on your income, but how many "work credits" you have earned by the number of years you've worked.
If you are injured on-the-job in a nursing home, our nursing home workers' compensation attorneys in Boston will help you examine every possible avenue of recovery.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.