Gloucester, MA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ Compensation is a useful form of recovering compensation for those in Gloucester who suffer injuries or contract illnesses while at work. This source of remedy will be available to you whether your employer was negligently responsible for causing the injury or not.
However, if your injury was caused by another party’s negligence, you may find it more beneficial to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against that party. Through this option, you can avoid dealing with limitations on your recovery and access compensation for your own personal pain and suffering.
To learn more about the options that are available to you in your time of need, reach out to the dedicated Gloucester Workers’ Compensation attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (617) 925-6407. We can offer you an initial case evaluation for no charge.
Scope of Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Gloucester, MA
If you were injured while on the job, you may be facing costly expenses without the ability to work for a living to pay for them. In these situations, it is important to know whether Workers’ Compensation insurance benefits will apply in your case.
Under Massachusetts law, any injury or illness that occurs while an employee is at work will be covered by Workers’ Compensation. The two key terms here are “employee” and “at work.”
The law considers an employee to be someone who is working for another person or entity under a contract for hire. However, this contains multiple exceptions, like in the cases of longshoremen, salespeople that work entirely on commission, taxi and rideshare drivers, and other independent contractors. If you are not sure whether you meet the definition of an employee, discuss your case with one of our Gloucester Workers’ Compensation attorneys.
Determining whether an injury occurred while the employee was at work is somewhat murky. For example, if you were driving a vehicle owned by your employer and were injured in an accident, the reason you were driving the vehicle will affect whether you were technically “at work.” If you get sick while at work and are forced to miss more than five days, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you contracted your illness or condition from some source at your workplace, such as exposure to toxic chemicals. This usually happens with severe illness like silicosis or mesothelioma.
Third-Party Liability for Workplace Accidents in Gloucester, MA
There are certain situations where Workers’ Compensation is not available or ideal for your recovery. While employer negligence is covered by Workers’ Compensation, this is not the cause of all workplace injuries in Gloucester.
If another entity that was not your actual employer was to blame for negligently, recklessly, or intentionally injuring you, you can often step outside the exclusive remedy of Workers’ Compensation to file a lawsuit and recover damages in a Massachusetts court.
For example, suppose that you work on a construction site that uses scaffolding. The site manager that employs you contracts with another company to do the installation of the scaffolding. If the installation company did not properly secure the scaffolding or ground it correctly, it could collapse, injuring those who were on or near it. This would create liability for the installation company.
Another common type of third-party liability for work accidents is in defective products. To use the example above, the scaffolding could collapse because the actual materials used were substandard. In such a situation, the injury victim could pursue their claim against the scaffolding manufacturing company. These lawsuits are also common in situations involving defects in heavy machinery.
Benefits of Filing a Lawsuit vs. an Insurance Claim in Gloucester, MA
As mentioned, you may have the ability to sue or recover through Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts. Below are some benefits to pursuing a lawsuit over an insurance claim, depending on your circumstances.
Limits on Workers’ Compensation Insurance
For one, Workers’ Compensation benefits are limited based on the particular type of plan that your employer uses. State minimums require that every plan cover at least a certain amount of the injury victim’s medical expenses and lost income, but these values are often limited based on a set percentage and a length of time. For instance, even if your injuries required a prolonged period of recovery or cause an indefinite hinderance to your ability to work, Workers’ Compensation insurance may only provide coverage for your lost income over a shorter period of time. Through a lawsuit, you can seek to recover compensation that will account for the entirety of the harms you suffered.
Damages for Pain and Suffering
In that same spirit, another benefit that a lawsuit provides in contrast to a Workers’ Compensation is the ability to recover noneconomic damages. Workers’ Compensation claims get the victim compensation for their medical care costs and lost income, but that does not encompass the entirety of how your injuries affect you. Many who suffer significant injuries at work may experience chronic pain, loss of enjoyment of life, and the onset of psychological conditions like anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Massachusetts courts account for these consequences through non-economic damages, which Workers’ Compensation insurance will not provide.
Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Could Be Denied
Finally, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit avoids the rigorous process of the Workers’ Compensation application process. Unfortunately, it is all too common to see otherwise valid Workers’ Compensation claims get denied by the provider for vague or frivolous reasons. Insurance providers often issue denials of claims in hopes that the claimant will get discouraged and abandon their case, particularly if the claimant does not have legal representation. It can be vital to have a Gloucester Workers’ Compensation attorney by your side throughout the process, whether you decide to file a Workers’ Compensation claim or pursue a personal injury case in court.
Talk to a Gloucester Workers’ Compensation Attorney About Your Injury Today
By calling the seasoned Gloucester Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan right now, you can obtain a free initial case evaluation. Contact us at our offices at (617) 925-6407.