A common legal complication arising out of Massachusetts construction injuries is a suit brought by the injured party against parties upstream to their employer–i.e. a subcontractor’s employee bringing suit against the general contractor. Massachusetts workers’ compensation law bars the employee from bringing a civil action against their direct employer (limiting relief to a workers’ compensation award by the Department of Industrial Accidents), but allows suits against other parties. Further, Massachusetts law prevents the employee’s direct employer from terminating the employee in retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim.
In Bermudez v. Dielectrics, Inc., the Appeals Court determined that the anti-retaliation law also prevents an employee from being terminated in retaliation for filing a civil action against other parties. The Court held that, “it would be unfair today to allow an employee to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party action, yet only prevent the employer from terminating an employee for filing one claim but not the other.” The decision is available here.
Injuries are unfortunate and complex events, with significant potential business ramifications. Consult legal counsel.
Attorney Sakib Khan routinely advises clients on construction industry risk management.