Workers’ compensation provides benefits to most Cambridge employees who are injured on the job, even if the employer was not directly responsible for the accident. Unfortunately, because payments are made by insurance companies, workers’ compensation claims are often denied or contested. Due to this, the aid of legal counsel could make the difference between a successful claim and a failed one.
If you were injured while on the job, you could benefit from speaking with a Cambridge workers’ compensation lawyer. By working with a dedicated personal injury attorney, you could more effectively gather evidence and potentially build a much stronger case for compensation.
Benefits Available in Cambridge
Unlike a civil lawsuit, workers’ compensation is a no-fault plan, meaning it is not necessary to prove that someone is specifically to blame for an accident in order to recover benefits. Through workers’ comp, medical benefits and lost wage benefits are available to covered employees who suffer a work-related illness or injury that necessitates medical attention.
According to the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) that oversees workers’ compensation claims, available medical benefits include:
- “Adequate and reasonable” medical care
- Reimbursement for prescription medications
- Recovery for transportation costs to medical treatment
- The right to choose a health care provider, after an initial exam
In certain circumstances, additional types of benefits may be available, such as single payments for permanent scarring or loss of bodily function, or vocational benefits for retraining. If a work injury or illness results in death, surviving family members and dependents of the deceased may also be entitled to benefits.
However, under a typical workers’ compensation plan, the employer is given the right to choose the first doctor or hospital that examines the injured worker, and the insurer may further require the employee to see one of his or her doctors for periodic evaluations, which are called Independent Medical Evaluation (IME). While medical services may continue as long as medically required, the insurer may deny treatment it deems unnecessary. Any denial of treatment may be appealed to the DIA with help from a Cambridge workers’ compensation attorney.
Temporary and Permanent Aid Under Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation includes various types of incapacity or lost wage benefits for injured workers. These may be paid as varying levels of temporary or permanent benefits, depending on the specific details of a claim.
Temporary Partial Benefits
If you are still able to work light duty after an accident but are not paid the salary or cannot work the same amount of hours as before your injury, you may receive temporary partial incapacity benefits. Temporary partial benefits are paid at 60 percent of the difference of what the injured worker can earn working light duty compared to the injured worker’s pre-accident average weekly wage. The maximum amount of partial benefits is 75 percent of the injured worker’s temporary total benefits.
Temporary Total and Permanent and Total Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits may be paid if you are unable to work due to a work injury. An injured worker must be disabled from work for 21 days in order to receive temporary total benefits for the first five days out of work due to a work injury. The amount of these benefits is calculated based on 60 percent of your average weekly wage from the previous year. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts sets a maximum and minimum workers’ compensation lost wage each year.
If you are completely disabled from all forms of work and a doctor reports that your disability is permanent and you may never work again, you may receive permanent and total incapacity benefits. Unlike temporary total incapacity benefits and partial incapacity benefits, there is no arbitrary time limit for permanent and total incapacity benefits. A seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer in Cambridge could help to explain the benefits available.
Limitations to Recovery
Workers’ compensation is a protection plan built on compromise. Essentially, in exchange for the ability to receive benefits without the need to prove negligence, workers lose the right to sue their employers and receive damages for pain and suffering for accidents in the workplace.
However, though they may receive benefits upon showing that an injury occurred during the scope of employment, workers’ comp payments sometimes do not provide as much compensation as what may be available through a negligence lawsuit. In large part, this is because compensation is not available through workers’ compensation for non-economic harm, such as pain and suffering. For more information, contact a seasoned attorney.
How a Cambridge Workers’ Compensation Attorney Might Help
Being injured at work could leave you overwhelmed and confused about how to proceed. If you were harmed while working, a Cambridge workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help clear up some of that confusion.
The claims process could be difficult to navigate, especially when you are trying to recover from a serious injury, but an experienced injury attorney could help explain the intricacies of the workers’ compensation system and work with you to build a strong case for appropriate restitution. For more information about the benefits that may be available in your situation, call today.