Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
When you are injured on the job, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. However, with work-related injuries, your remedies are likely to come from the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system rather than from a traditional personal injury claim.
If you wish to secure workers’ compensation for injuries resulting from a work-related accident, be sure to contact a hardworking Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer today. Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you explore your options when you have sustained work-related injuries and ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation to which you may be entitled. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 today.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation policies cover injuries occurring while individuals are at work or performing their usual work duties. These injuries do not necessarily take place in the workplace. For instance, if workers make deliveries as part of their regular job responsibilities, then an injury sustained while delivering packages or orders would qualify as an on-the-job injury. To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must miss at least five days of work due to your injuries.
However, the employee must be on the clock or working when the injuries occurred. Employees who are on their lunch breaks, running personal errands, or other similar situations when they suffer injuries are likely to result in a denial of coverage under the workers’ compensation system. Even in clear cases, however, insurance companies may attempt to deny coverage or try to argue that injuries did not occur while employees were working.
Workers’ compensation covers not only injuries on the job, but also illnesses contracted as a result of the work environment. For instance, if constant exposure to chemicals results in disease to workers, then they may be entitled to coverage under the workers’ compensation policy that their employers maintain. If you have suffered injuries due to a chemical exposure within the scope of your employment, it is imperative that you contact a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer for guidance.
Different Kinds of Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation does not look the same for all employees. The way you are compensated will differ based on the extent of your injuries and whether or not you are able to resume working. Workers’ compensation will be a temporary solution for many but a more permanent solution for others.
Many people injured in a work-related accident will claim temporary incapacity benefits. These benefits are meant to last only until you are able to fully return to your job. These benefits can be partial or total, depending on your injuries and if you can safely go back to work.
Temporary partial incapacity benefits are for people whose injuries prevent them from working to their fullest ability. This may mean you can only work reduced hours or perform only certain aspects of your job. By working less, you are probably earning less. Temporary partial incapacity benefits work to make up the wages you’re losing.
Temporary total incapacity works much the same way as partial incapacity benefits. However, to be eligible for this type of workers’ compensation, you must be so injured that you are totally unable to return to work while you recover. The benefits you receive under this coverage will be greater than partial incapacity benefits. Contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your claim.
Workers’ Compensation for Permanent Disabilities or Losses in Massachusetts
Unfortunately, some people are so injured in work-related accidents that their injuries are long-lasting. Those with permanent disabilities, disfigurements, or losses can claim a different form of workers’ compensation in addition to medical coverage for treatments.
If you are permanently disabled as a result of your accident, you may claim workers’ compensation benefits for the rest of your working years. To be eligible, you must be permanently disabled as a result of your accident and unable to return to the workforce in any job. If you can find different work than what you were doing before, you will not be eligible. Your benefits will be based on your average salary and may be paid to you indefinitely.
Some people are not disabled after their accident, but they have permanent disfigurements or losses that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Even if you can return to work after you recover, you can still be compensated for these permanent losses. This includes things like severe burn scars or the loss of limbs. Your compensation will depend on the level of impairment you suffer from these disfigurements or losses and is usually paid as a one-time lump sum. You do not need to be disabled to receive these benefits. Contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to talk about the potential benefits you might be eligible for.
Determining the Source of Your Injuries for Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts
For many people injured on the job, the source of their injuries is a no-brainer. Sudden and severe injuries are often easily traced back to the work-related accident that caused them. This might be something like losing a limb in some heavy machinery or breaking a leg after falling down some stairs. However, not all injuries make themselves known in the same way.
Sometimes your injuries sort of sneak up on you. Maybe you have noticed your back is a little bit sore today, but over time that sore back could turn into a significant medical issue. Work-related wear and tear on your body can be covered under workers’ compensation. This can include things like repetitive use injuries, which come from having to repeat physical tasks over and over again, taking a painful toll on your body.
The wear and tear on your body must come from your work activities and not your everyday life in order to be covered by workers’ compensation. This may mean we have to prove the source of your injuries. For example, you may want workers’ compensation because you have extremely weak shoulders you believe come from years of hard work. We will have to show your weak shoulders came from specific job functions, such as regularly lifting heavy objects over your head. Contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer for guidance on the injuries that may be covered.
Appealing Denied Workers’ Compensation Claims in Massachusetts
The state Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) handles all workers’ compensation-related disputes. Any denials or terminations in benefits may be subject to appeal by workers filing a workers’ comp claims with the DIA. This filing triggers the formal process for reviewing denials and terminations of claims by the DIA.
Parties first must attend a Conciliation, which is an informal meeting with a DIA Conciliator. Not only do these individuals ensure that there is adequate medical evidence to merit moving to the next step of the appeals process, but they also try to resolve the dispute between the parties. If the Conciliation is unsuccessful, the case moves to an Administrative Law Judge for a conference.
During the conference, lawyers for both sides present evidence and make arguments to an Administrative Law Judge, who then issues a Conference Order. Either one party or both parties may typically appeal that order. Due to the multi-layered nature of the workers’ compensation claim appeals process, enlisting the help of a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer may be highly beneficial.
Other Disputes in Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claims
If the dispute concerns the disabling nature of a workers’ medical condition, an impartial physician could evaluate the medical records submitted by the worker and conduct a physical examination. The impartial physician would then issue findings and an opinion as to whether the injury or illness is work-related, whether the worker needs additional medical treatment, and whether further improvement in the condition could occur.
If one of the parties is still dissatisfied with the opinion, that party can ask the Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board to review the case further. Beyond that, any further remedies lie with appeals to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals or even the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer can guide you through the appeals process step-by-step.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer Instead of Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, filing for workers’ compensation is often the “sole remedy” for compensation for a work-related accident. If workers’ compensation is available, employees are typically barred from filing a personal lawsuit against their employer. However, there are a few limited circumstances in which you may be able to file a personal lawsuit against your boss.
First, you can sue your boss if their willful misconduct or actions caused your accident. Unlike in a typical workers’ compensation claim, you must prove fault for a personal claim against your employer. Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, can be claimed with no showing of fault. While taking this path is definitely more challenging, the payoffs could be greater than workers’ compensation. Not only can you recover for medical expenses and lost wages, but you can also recover for intangible losses like pain and suffering.
You may also sue your employer if they do not have any workers’ compensation insurance. In Massachusetts, almost all employers are required to carry some insurance in case of work-related accidents and injuries. If you discover after an accident that there is no worker’s compensation policy for you to make a claim under, you may have no choice but to sue. Contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer for more information.
Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help You
Although workers’ compensation provides valuable benefits that all workers should enjoy, insurance companies are often more interested in profits over providing benefits to injured or ill workers. A Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to hold these insurance companies accountable when they fail to follow the law and provide benefits as agreed.
If you receive a denial or termination of workers’ compensation benefits, and you are still unable to work due to your medical conditions, you may want to seek legal help as quickly as possible. Schedule a consultation with our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. Call our office at (617) 396-7295 today to meet with our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers and get started on your claim.