Brookline, MA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you or a loved one was hurt at work, you might be entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation claim to support you and your family while you recover. Injured workers should be covered by their employer’s policy so that they can get medical bills and lost wages covered, but they might not understand how this insurance works, who should be covered, and when you can file.
Our attorneys work with injury victims at all kinds of workplaces and fight to get them the benefits they are entitled to. If you were hurt and need help getting your damages covered, we can help you file a claim, fight denials, and work to get your medical care and lost wages paid at the full rate they should be covered.
For a free case evaluation, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407.
Who Gets Workers’ Compensation in Brookline, MA
If you work in Massachusetts, odds are you are covered by a Workers’ Compensation policy. Under Massachusetts law, most employers need to have a policy to cover their employees. There are very few exceptions to this rule, but there are still some exceptions where Workers’ Compensation is not required and where the employee will be able to file a lawsuit in court for an injury at work instead of using the Workers’ Compensation system. Our Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help you determine whether any exceptions apply that would drop you from coverage.
The first exception is for federal workers, such as courthouse and postal employees. There is also an exception for seamen and other people who work in interstate trade in a way that they get covered by other federal systems or rules.
Second, independent contractors are not covered by Workers’ Compensation, but the law assumes that a worker is an “employee” instead of a contractor. The general test to determine whether a worker should instead be categorized as an independent contractor is to look at whether they control their own work or whether their employer tells them what to do, whether their work is a different kind of work than their employer does, and whether they own their own business. So, for example, a caterer working under their LLC’s name at a construction firm’s Christmas party would likely be an independent contractor, but a carpenter hired in his own name to work at a job site by the construction firm would likely be considered an employee.
When it comes to subcontractors, there are additional rules that dictate whether they are employees of the contractor or truly subcontractors. The contract they are using might also have rules about how Workers’ Compensation coverage is handled when subcontractors and contractors are involved.
There are some other exceptions, too, such as for very small businesses, domestic workers, and taxi drivers in certain circumstances. Otherwise, all employees should be protected by a Workers’ Compensation policy.
Who Pays for Workers’ Compensation in Brookline, MA?
Workers’ Compensation is something your employer pays for. This means that you should never have to contribute any money toward having coverage, and you should receive all benefits from your employer’s policy. This coverage is separate from something like Social Security Disability Insurance, where you contribute taxes toward coverage.
What Benefits Will Workers’ Compensation Cover in Brookline, MA?
Workers’ Compensation primarily pays for medical expenses and lost wages. This system is designed to replace the need to file a lawsuit and therefore covers most of the damages you would be able to claim in a lawsuit. However, it does not pay for pain and suffering damages.
When you get injured at work, your employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy should pay for 100% of the medical bills related to your treatment, including emergency medical care. In fact, emergency care should be covered if you leave work to get treatment for a work injury even if you later end up getting your coverage denied for ongoing treatment. However, Workers’ Compensation should still cover ongoing care, too – as long as it is for your work-related injury.
The actual percentage of lost wages covered depends on whether your injury permanently or temporarily incapacitates you and whether you are fully incapacitated or only partially incapacitated. This means that if you are able to continue working with your injury, perhaps with reduced tasks, then you will ultimately receive lower benefits. However, if your injury is severe and you can no longer work, you should receive the highest rate of benefits.
Damages Not Covered
“Pain and suffering” is a major area of damages not covered in a Workers’ Compensation claim. To get these damages covered, you would have to file a lawsuit. In some cases, you can sue an at-fault party while receiving other benefits through Workers’ Compensation, allowing you to recover these additional damages from the at-fault party. However, this could leave you open to a lawsuit by the insurance company to recover some of the costs of your benefits in a process called subrogation.
You are not able to sue an employer for injuries under our Workers’ Compensation rules, but if someone else caused your injuries or you meet certain exceptions, then you might be able to sue instead of filing through insurance, maximizing your damages.
When Can You Sue Under Workers’ Compensation in Brookline, MA?
As mentioned, you cannot sue an employer if you are covered by Workers’ Compensation. However, any of the excepted workers listed above should retain their right to sue, including properly classified independent contractors.
You can also sue for injuries if you are suing a third party. This could be a driver who hit you with their car while you were working or a company that produced your defective safety gear, for example.
You should also be entitled to sue if your employer failed to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, leaving you with no route to get benefits. There might also be other exceptions that apply to your case, so speak with a lawyer about your claim.
Call Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Brookline, MA Today
For help filing your claim and getting the benefit you need, call our Workers’ Compensation attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407.