Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Attorney John Sheehan has been winning for injured workers in the eastern half of Masschusetts since 1993, and he can help you secure Workers’ Compensation or guide you through other courses of action following a work injury. You’ll find our firm to be understanding, welcoming, and fiercely committed to your success. Call 617-925-6407 for a free case review at your earliest convenience.
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) 812-5015 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 Types 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.
Common Workers Compensation Injuries in Massachusetts
Workplace injuries can occur in nearly every occupation. Furthermore, workplace injuries can range in severity. No matter the extent of an injury, injured workers deserve compensation for damages suffered because of a work-related accident. The following are common types of Workers’ Compensation injuries in Massachusetts.
Broken and Fractured Bones
Broken and fractured bones can be caused by forced trauma or overuse. Common causes of breaks and fractures include falls, impacts, defective equipment, vehicle crashes, and falling objects. The time it takes to heal from broken bones and fractures may vary. However, the medical impacts of such injuries can be severe. Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help guide injured workers on their road to recovery.
Lacerations and Punctures
Lacerations and punctures are another common type of Workers’ Compensation injury and can occur in nearly many industries. Lacerations describe deep cuts or tears in skin or flesh. Punctures are wounds made by pointed objects such as nails or knives. Puncture wounds are often more serious than they appear on the surface.
Lacerations and punctures most frequently occur in manufacturing jobs, food production jobs, and restaurant industry jobs. There are numerous steps employers can take to protect their employees from lacerations and punctures. Victims can contact our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers to determine if their employer took necessary steps to prevent such an injury.
Burns are injuries to tissue caused by heat, steam, electricity, chemicals, radiation, or sunlight. Burn injuries can require intensive medical treatment. Furthermore, many burn injuries that may appear mild at first can worsen. It is important for injured workers who have suffered burn injuries to seek medical treatment and have a doctor assess their injuries immediately. First-degree burns may heal quickly but widespread third-degree burns can be fatal.
Eye injuries that happen at work will often qualify a worker for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Eye injuries can happen in most occupations. Furthermore, severe eye injuries may hurt a victims’ ability to earn income in the future. Accordingly, our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers will fight to recover the full extent of damages available to victims of work-related eye injuries.
Cumulative or Continuous Trauma
Cumulative or continuous trauma occurs when repetitive mental or physical activities cause an injury over time. These injuries are most common in workers that have long careers in manual labor occupations. However, these types of injuries can occur in any field. The following are some examples of cumulative trauma injuries.
- Back injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- “Tennis elbow”
Quantifying the damages suffered by victims of cumulative or continuous trauma injuries can be difficult. Workers who have suffered such injuries can consult with our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers for help building their case.
Strains and Sprains
Lastly, strains and sprains are also common sources of Workers’ Compensation claims. Sprains and strains involve injuries to muscles or connective tissues. Sprains are stretched or torn ligaments, while strains are stretched or torn muscles and tendons. Such injuries are typically caused by excessive amounts of stress being placed on muscles, tendons, or ligaments. The following are some examples of activities that can lead to strains or sprains in the workplace.
- Pushing, pulling, or carrying excessive weight
- Lifting excessive weight
- Slipping or tripping
- Awkward movements
- Repetitive motion
Some strains and sprains are more severe than others. However, these types of injuries frequently require medical attention. Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers can recommend the right doctors to treat injured workers with strains and sprains.
Contusions and Bruises
Contusions are regions of injured tissue or skin in which blood capillaries have been ruptured, and the term is usually used to refer to large or severe bruises. This type of injury can happen when employees are struck by falling objects or hit by vehicles. While a bruise may seem like an insignificant injury to some, contusion injuries can have serious consequences. Workers who suffer contusions on the job may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits in Massachusetts.
Mental Health Injuries
Employees are eligible to recover damages for work-related mental health injuries in Massachusetts. For example, workers who develop PTSD because of a workplace accident may be able to recover compensation. However, victims will need to undergo a medical evaluation before receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits for a mental health injury. Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help victims of work-related mental health injuries recover the compensation available to them.
What Evidence Do You Need to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Massachusetts?
It is important for injured workers to know what evidence is required to support a Workers’ Compensation claim in Massachusetts. Before proceeding with your claim, you should collect the following evidence relevant to your case:
- The date of injury or illness
- The injured body parts and types of injuries
- The date of the 1st and 5th calendar days of work missed
- The name of your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier
- The type of benefits being requested
- How long you may be out, if known
- your current treating doctor’s name and info
Claimants are also required to attach copies of at least one of the following items when first filing their claim. At a later stage in the process, you will be asked to produce all of the following evidence:
- Unpaid medical bills
- Medical reports
- Witness statements
- Witness names
- Any reports on how the accident happened
Therefore, Workers’ Compensation claims may require copious amounts of evidence. Those who have suffered workplace injuries can contact our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers for help gathering information relevant to their claim.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Massachusetts
Many workers may not understand the process for filing a claim after a workplace injury. You may file an Employee Claim Form with the Department of Industrial Accidents either in person or through the mail.
The process of filing a claim can be stressful after an injury. Most claims are rejected because of a filing error, such naming the incorrect insurance company or failing to include the 1st and 5th calendar days of missed work. Accordingly, our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers are available to help injured workers who need assistance filing a claim.
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 Boston 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.