If you suffered from a workplace accident, you may be unsure how to proceed. Qualifying for workers’ compensation in Boston is simple, but actually receiving the benefits you deserve is another matter. If you have difficulties trying to negotiate with an employer or insurance company, a Boston workers’ compensation lawyer could help. An attorney could negotiate with insurers on your behalf to ensure you receive the benefits you need to recover.
Common Injuries Qualifying for Workers Comp
Some of the most common injuries qualifying for workers’ compensation in Boston are lifting injuries, in which workers suffer from muscle strains and sometimes a herniated disc. The other ways are slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents at work. The injuries most commonly seen involve injuries to the joints, such as the shoulder, knee, and ankle. For example, rotator cuff tears, meniscal tears in the knee, and tendon tears in the ankle are common injuries.
In the construction industry, falls may occur due to working at heights without adequate fall protection. There are cases where people did not have any fall protection while working on roofs, staging, or ladders. Injuries could also occur if a worker had fall protection that failed because the anchors were not properly secured or the equipment was old and failed. When someone falls from a height, they could suffer fractured bones or a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury (TBI) that requires surgery.
Another common condition qualifying for workers’ compensation in Boston is repetitive trauma resulting from repetitive work activities, such as a packer or a data entry clerk. These workers can develop tears in their rotator cuffs, carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrists and hands, or ulnar neuropathy in the elbow.
Requirements of Workers’ Compensation?
Anyone who employs another person, as long as the person is not a seasonal, casual, or part-time domestic employee working less than 16 hours, must have a workers’ compensation insurance policy for their employees. There is some controversy over the misclassification of workers and calling someone a 1099 independent contractor when in reality, the person is employed for the individual or company. The law does not look at the way the employer pays its workers, whether they take out payroll deductions, issue a W-2 at the beginning of the next year, or issue a 1099. The law considers:
- The degree of control or the right to control the person’s work activities
- The conditions of their employment
- Where and how they work
- The order in which they perform the job tasks
The workers’ compensation system determines whether the person has a special license or skill. They compare the title the employer gives the job with what the employee is doing to see whether there is an employee-employer relationship.
Unique Features of Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation
One feature of the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system that is the majority of cases settle with liability. That means that, even though the case settles, the injured worker continues to be eligible to receive medical benefits paid by the workers’ compensation insurer after the settlement. It is rare in Massachusetts that a case settles without liability and no further benefits of any type are provided.
In addition to ongoing medical benefits for cases settled with liability, the injured worker has two years to be evaluated to determine if he or she is eligible to receive vocational benefits paid by the workers’ compensation insurance company. Eligibility for vocational benefits is determined on a case-by-case basis. If the injured worker is found eligible to receive vocational benefits, they usually must have:
- A high school degree or a GED
- Basic proficiency in the English language
- A current return-to-work note from their doctor that they are able to work with restrictions due to the work injury
The purpose of vocational benefits is to give the injured worker further assistance to get back into the workforce and obtain the skills they need to earn what they earned before they were injured. For example, an individual was a high wage earner doing physical work and because of their injury, they are partially disabled or have a permanent impairment from doing any type of heavy lifting. As a result, they may not able to earn what they did previously without retraining. If the person is eligible, vocational benefits could put them in a position to be trained, skilled, and certified to do light-duty work that they otherwise would not have the qualifications to do.
A Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney Could Represent You
If you are concerned about qualifying for workers’ compensation in Boston, reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney. A lawyer understands how difficult a workplace accident can be, and he or she could handle negotiations and paperwork while you focus on recovery. Call today to schedule a consultation.