In the recent case of DiCarlo v. Suffolk Construction Co., the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts was asked to consider two companion cases involving job-related injuries that involved similar issues.
The first case involved an electrician who injured his back on a job site. The employer’s workers’ compensation carrier provided benefits to compensate the man for his medical bills and missed paychecks, which amounted to roughly $282,000. The injured worker also brought a negligence action against the owner of the construction site and the job manager. Both of these defendants filed third-party indemnification actions against a subcontractor involved with the job. The parties reached a tentative settlement, but the lower court denied approval of the settlement. According to the lower court, the settlement’s allotment of 35 percent of the amount to the worker’s pain and suffering was incorrect and would prevent the insurance carrier’s lien from attaching to the portion of fees allotted as pain and suffering damages. The parties appealed, and the appellate court reversed the lower court’s holding.