Brockton, MA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you were hurt on the job, you might be unable to return to work, and a Workers’ Compensation claim might be in order. Although Workers’ Compensation covers most employees, getting approved can be challenging.
The Workers’ Compensation system broadly covers most employees in Massachusetts. Notable exceptions include independent contractors, who are not considered employees within the legal definition. Filing a claim begins with informing your employer and their insurer of your injuries. An attorney can help you fill out the necessary forms and submit your claim. You might be entitled to benefits for temporary or permanent injuries or disabilities, and your medical bills should be covered.
For a free case evaluation with our Workers’ Compensation lawyers, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 533-0726.
Employees Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Brockton, MA
Workers’ Compensation benefits might be available for most employees in Massachusetts. Our Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help you determine if you are covered. The legal definition of an employee is broad, but a select few workers are not covered. Independent contractors are generally not considered employees.
According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 152 § 1(4), the definition of an employee is broad, and many, if not most, workers are likely covered. The law covers anyone in the service of another under a contract for hire. The contract for hire might be implied or express, written or oral.
Several categories of workers are not covered. The law specifically mentioned that seamen on ships engaged in foreign commerce, certain professional athletes, real estate agents, and salespeople who work solely on commission are not included. Additionally, independent contractors are not considered employees.
Distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor can often be challenging in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. § 148B(a), an independent contractor is defined by the following criteria: They have the freedom to determine how they will execute their duties, and their employer does not have the authority to direct their job responsibilities. The services provided by the worker should be outside the employer’s regular business operations, and the worker should ordinarily be engaged in an established line of work or trade that is similar to the services being offered.
If you are an independent contractor, you might be unable to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. However, you might be free to file a lawsuit or pursue other courses of legal action for compensation.
How to Apply for Workers’ Compensation in Brockton, MA
According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 152 § 41, Workers’ Compensation proceedings begin after an injured worker reports their injuries to their employer and the employer’s insurance. Notice of injuries should be served on these parties as soon as practicable. Even so, the law imposes a 4-year time limit. You have four years from the time you realized your working conditions caused your injuries.
Generally, once your employer has been notified of your accident, they must submit Form 101, also called the “Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality” form, to their insurance company. The insurance company might investigate your claims and decide whether to pay you compensation.
Employers are required by law to submit these forms to their insurance company. If they fail to do so, they might be penalized. On top of that, you might have to report your injuries to your employer’s insurance company and the Department of Industrial Accidents yourself with the help of our Workers’ Compensation attorneys.
Areas Around Brockton, MA Where Workers Are Commonly Injured
Brockton, MA, and its surrounding areas are particularly vulnerable to work-related injuries and accidents because of the presence of various industries known for hazards associated with their operations. Several towns and neighborhoods around Brockton have experienced a higher incidence of workplace injuries, affecting Workers’ Compensation claims in the region. The following towns that surround Brockton are known for having certain industries high in Workers’ Compensation claims:
Easton, being home to a substantial manufacturing and construction sector, is susceptible to work-related injuries caused by heavy machinery, falls from heights, and exposure to hazardous substances such as chemicals, gases, and dust particles. These injuries typically require serious medical care and long-term benefits to treat.
West Bridgewater is a diverse town with a range of industries, including manufacturing and shipping. The manufacturing industry poses risks such as machinery accidents and lifting injuries, while the shipping industry has transportation-related hazards. Workers in West Bridgewater should take necessary precautions to ensure their safety while on the job.
Stoughton is a city that has made a name for itself in the industrial sector, boasting a number of industrial parks that are home to a variety of manufacturing companies. The workers in these factories are exposed to a range of occupational hazards, including but not limited to chemical exposure, repetitive strain injuries, and the risk of accidents involving heavy machinery.
Bridgewater is home to a variety of industries, each with its own set of unique hazards. The manufacturing industry, for example, poses risks related to machinery accidents, while the construction sector is associated with the risk of falls. Additionally, workers in Bridgewater might be exposed to hazardous substances, which can lead to respiratory ailments and other health issues.
Common Injuries Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Made for in Brockton, MA
It is essential to note that workers in and around Brockton can suffer from several types of injuries that are eligible for Workers’ Compensation. These injuries can range from minor strains and pains to severe ones, such as vision loss and amputations. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you have the right to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. Here are some of the most common injuries that workers in Brockton experience:
Neck, Back, and Shoulder Injuries
In Brockton, injuries to the neck, back, and shoulders are frequently reported by workers. Work-related accidents or overuse can cause injuries such as herniated disks, pinched nerves, and torn ligaments in these areas. Whether you are lifting a heavy object or your job requires you to spend long hours hunched over a desk, these common injuries can be severe and impact every aspect of your life.
Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Injuries
Injuries to the hand, wrist, and elbow are common in workplace accidents, often resulting in abrasions, cuts, and fractures. Repetitive motions can also cause stress-related injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, tendonitis, and bursitis. If you use your hands frequently at work and experience pain or numbness, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor can diagnose any underlying problems that might require surgery and advise you on filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Certain occupations that involve repetitive use of the hands and standing for extended periods of time can cause what is known as “repetitive stress injuries.” These injuries can include carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as swelling and bruising in the affected area. In severe cases, the injuries can lead to significant damage to the elbows or shoulders and might require surgery for relief. Proving the existence of repetitive stress injuries can be challenging, but medical experts can provide valuable testimony to support the diagnosis.
Amputations are more likely to occur in the workplace setting in Brockton because of hazards such as machine malfunctions or falls from great heights. These injuries can have a life-altering impact on the individuals who suffer them. That is why Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to help them transition while they heal. The amount of compensation paid out depends on which body part was amputated and whether it will affect the victim’s ability to return to work indefinitely.
Burns and Disfigurement
Burn injuries might occur because of various accidents, including contact with hot liquids or steam, exposure to hazardous chemicals, or contact with exposed electrical wires. Depending on the severity of the burn and whether it was thermal or electrical, workers who have been burned might suffer scarring, disfigurement, or permanent disability.
Employers are required to furnish their employees with protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and protective clothing when exposure to chemicals or other dangerous substances is a risk in the workplace. If you were not supplied with such gear and sustained a burn injury, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for your injuries.
Hearing and Vision Injuries
Workers’ Compensation claims can be filed for various reasons related to hearing loss or vision problems, which can occur because of exposure to loud noises emanating from heavy equipment and machinery on construction sites. Eye injuries and vision loss can result from being around hazardous chemicals or high-pressure hoses and steam pipes that leak dangerous gases into the air. It is worth noting that these injuries might not become apparent until years after an incident, making it essential to take proper precautions and maintain a safe working environment at all times.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
If you have ever experienced Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), you know how debilitating it can be. This neurological condition can be caused by severe workplace accidents or even through repetitive use of a specific body part.
Regardless of how it is triggered, those affected by CRPS usually experience chronic pain and an increase in nerve impulses to the area, which can severely limit their ability to work or perform daily tasks. Proving CRPS can be a difficult task, but it is important to remember that you deserve to be compensated if your work has contributed to the development of this condition.
Benefits Provided Through Workers’ Compensation in Brockton, MA
Workers’ Compensation might provide numerous benefits to injured employees. Among these benefits are temporary payments for total or partial incapacity. Our team can help you determine what kind of benefits you qualify for and how to make the most of your compensation.
Temporary Total Incapacity Benefits
You might qualify for temporary total incapacity benefits if you cannot work for six or more full or partial calendar days. These days do not have to be consecutive to qualify. Benefits might cover 60% of your gross average weekly income based on the 52 weeks leading up to your injuries. You can continue receiving these benefits for up to 156 weeks, and payment begins on the 6th day of your disability. You might recover compensation for the first five days of your disability if you are incapacitated for 21 days or more.
Temporary partial Incapacity Benefits
Temporary partial incapacity benefits might be in order if you can still work but in a lesser capacity. For example, you might only be able to work part-time or in a less demanding position after your injuries. You might be paid 75% of your temporary total benefits, so somewhat less than 60% of your gross average weekly income. You can receive benefits for up to 260 weeks.
Permanent and Total Incapacity Benefits
Permanent and total incapacity benefits are paid to those unable to perform any kind of work. Eligible employees might collect 66% of their gross average weekly wage, and you can apply for a Cost-of-Living Adjustment if needed. These benefits are permanent and might last as long as you need them.
Workers’ Compensation might pay for more than a portion of your lost wages. You can also receive benefits covering medical expenses related to your injuries. Generally, compensation might cover all reasonable medical care necessary for your injuries. You can also be paid for prescription medicine costs and collateral expenses like travel costs to and from treatment.
If your injuries resulted in some permanent loss of function or disfigurement, you might be entitled to additional benefits. To be eligible, the scarring must be on your face, neck, or hands. Usually, benefits for scarring or disfigurement are a one-time payment rather than regular payments over time.
Death benefits might be paid to surviving family members of employees who did not survive their injuries. Surviving spouses might be paid up to 66% of the deceased spouse’s average weekly income. Additionally, burial and funeral costs might also be covered.
Call Our Brockton, MA Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Assistance Today
For a free evaluation of your claims, contact our Workers’ Compensation attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (617) 533-0726.