Determining the Validity of a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Massachusetts
After a workplace injury in Boston, you have the right to file a claim under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. Depending on the circumstances, getting legal advice from a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer could be an important step toward getting the financial support you and your family need.
When bringing a claim, a qualified attorney could help to assess your case, present legal options for seeking compensation and advocate for you during the claims process. Before that, legal counsel could also help with determining the validity of a Boston workers’ compensation claim and advise you about possible actions to take to effectively take action.
What to Do Following a Workplace Injury
Anyone who suffers an injury at work should first make sure to address his or her immediate medical concerns. Following this, the first step to pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is to report the injury to your employer. This is true even for minor injuries because even seemingly insignificant damages could worsen over time and develop into serious medical conditions.
Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152 §25A, all employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance and, through that system, provide recovery for employees who are injured at work. This system applies regardless of who was at fault for an injury, so long as it happens during the course of the employee’s work. Potential benefits under this system include payment for medical treatment, physical therapy, incapacity, vocational rehabilitation, and disfigurement, or loss of body function.
However, workers’ comp claims could be difficult to pursue without proper representation, and many potential pitfalls may hamper unrepresented claimants. A lawyer who understands the workers’ comp system could assess the validity of your Boston workers’ compensation claim and advocate on your behalf as you pursue recovery.
Reasons that a Claims May Be Denied in Boston
Workers’ compensation claims could be denied for a number of reasons. Commonly stated reasons for denials include independent contractor misclassification, undisclosed pre-existing conditions, or failure to give sufficient notice. Many denied claims deserve a second look from a knowledgeable attorney who could independently assess its validity, as not every denial of benefits is legally sound.
Independent Contractor Misclassification
Some employers try to cut corners by treating employees as independent contractors to avoid providing workers’ compensation and fulfilling other legal requirements. Under Massachusetts law, a person is presumed to be an employee unless certain specific conditions exist. As a worker, you should be acutely aware of your official status with your employer, so you can ensure you receive appropriate benefits as a full-time employee if you fit the legal definition of one. If your employer issues you an IRS Form 1099 rather than a Form W2, then your employer is classifying you as an independent contractor rather than an employee. However, Massachusetts workers’ compensation administrative judges look beyond the mere tax classification and determine whether the injured worker was an employee entitled to workers compensation benefits. While the legal analysis of independent contractor versus employee could be very technical and complicated, much of it depends on the degree of control or right to control the employer had over the injured worker’s day-to-day job duties.
Workers’ compensation only covers injuries that arise in the course of employment. This means an insurer may reject a claim when an employee suffers an injury believed to have stemmed from a pre-existing or degenerative condition. Although it is true that workers’ compensation does not cover these types of ailments when they are unrelated to work, you may still be eligible for benefits if a work-related incident or illness aggravates a pre-existing condition. In many instances, the injured worker will be required to present medical evidence through doctor’s notes and reports showing that the work injury is and remains a major cause of injury, need for medical treatment and disability from work.
Failure to Give Sufficient Notice
Under Massachusetts Gen. Laws Ch. 152 §41, employees must give notice of a work-related injury or illness as soon as they become aware of it. This triggers their employers’ obligation to file a claim with their insurance company.
However, failure to make a timely report could seriously impair your right to receive benefits, or even cause the claim to be invalid. This statute does not require written notice, but putting an incident report into writing could help avoid disputes over this crucial factor in workers’ compensation cases.
How an Attorney Could Help with Validating Workers’ Compensation Claims in Boston
If you suffered a workplace injury, consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer could be an important step toward receiving the benefits you need. A qualified attorney could advise you about your legal rights in Boston and help to build a persuasive claim for recovery.
You should not have to navigate the legal system alone to determine if your claim is valid, especially when dealing with an injury. Seeking compassionate legal counsel could help you rest assured that your case is being pursued by a dedicated legal ally, so that you may focus on your recovery. Call today to learn how a lawyer could help you with determining the validity of a Boston workers’ compensation claim.