Determining the Validity of a Workers’ Compensation Case in Massachusetts
Following an injury at a workplace, you are entitled to pursue a claim through the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. However, not every injury is eligible for compensation. To discuss the validity of a workers’ comp case in Wakefield, contact a seasoned attorney right away.
When you bring a claim under the workers’ compensation system, your employer and their workers’ compensation insurer have the opportunity to deny your claim. If they disagree that your claim is valid, you can contest their denial by filing a workers’ compensation claim with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents. To learn more, schedule a consultation today with a Boston workers’ compensation lawyer.
Potential Injuries Covered by a Worker’s Compensation Claim
Many conditions could result in compensation through a valid workers’ compensation claim. While any condition could lead to a claim, some conditions that commonly lead to a valid Wakefield workers’ compensation claim include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and concussions
- Neck or back injuries
- Torn rotators cuffs
- Tendon and ligament damage
- Knee injuries
- Ankle injuries
To learn more about recovering compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses like these, contact a Massachusetts personal injury attorney.
Reasons an Employer May Deny a Claim
There are several grounds for denying a Wakefield workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, the employer or insurance provider would want to see more documentation before lifting their objection. However, in most cases, the employer would decide if a claim is invalid. Some common grounds for a denied claim include:
- Independent contractor status
- Pre-existing conditions
- Insufficient notice
Independent Contractor Status
Only employees are entitled to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. While this includes full-time or part-time workers, it does not include independent contractors or freelancers. Some employers may even go so far as to misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid providing compensation coverage.
A Wakefield employer makes a formal declaration of an employee’s status based on the tax documentation they provide. Employers issue independent contractors an IRS Form 1099, while they issue employees a Form W2.
Thankfully, workers’ compensation judges look beyond the way an employer categorizes a worker. There are many factors that a workers’ compensation judge considers when analyzing whether an injured worker is an employee covered by the Massachusetts workers’ compensation statute. If the employer maintains a significant degree of control over the way a worker does their job, the court may determine they are actually employees covered by the workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ compensation benefits are only available for injuries that occur while the injured worker is acting in the course of their employment. A worker is not eligible for compensation for an injury suffered before the accident. However, a Wakefield workers’ compensation attorney could recover compensation on behalf of a victim’s pre-existing condition if a work injury aggravated it. However, an employer is likely to dispute that the pre-existing condition as aggravated. In that circumstance, the employer could then deny the claim by arguing that the injury occurred prior to the accident. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be able to present medical evidence to show that the work injury combined with a pre-existing medical condition and that the work injury is the predominant cause of the injured worker’s disability and need for medical treatment.
An injured worker should notify the employer about the work accident immediately or as soon as possible. It is always advisable to file an accident report or, at least, document the work accident. If the employer refuses to file an accident report, the injured worker should submit an email or text message to the supervisor or human resources to document the work accident. Should a worker fail to notify their employer promptly, it could be grounds for the insurer to deny the claim.
Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152 Section 41, the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim is four years. However, the statute of limitations is tolled if the insurer issues payment of workers’ compensation or if the injured worker files a workers’ compensation claim with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
Call a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A Malden workers’ compensation lawyer could help you with determining the validity of a workers’ comp case in Wakefield. If you sustained an injury or illness on the job, you should discuss your options with an attorney as soon as possible. Having professional legal assistance may go a long way towards obtaining the benefits you need. Experienced legal counsel could advise you on how to proceed with a claim while complying with all legal requirements.
Your employer has ample resources to fight your compensation claim. To even the playing field, schedule a consultation with our Boston personal injury attorneys today.