North Reading Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
People hurt while on the job can file a Workers’ Compensation claim to help them financially while they recover. An attorney can walk you through this process and protect your legal rights and best interests along the way.
Workers’ Compensation benefits help injured employees by paying them a portion of the wages they would otherwise be earning at work. Claimants can also get benefits for medical expenses and treatment. To file your claim, you need to tell your boss about your injuries so they can report the incident to their Workers’ Compensation insurance provider. You might be granted temporary benefits while your application is under review. If your application is approved, you can collect benefits for as long as necessary, often until you recover. While most employees should be covered by Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation system, certain workers, including independent contractors, are excluded.
Contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to schedule a case review with our Workers’ Compensation attorneys for no charge.
Potential Benefits from a North Reading Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ Compensation benefits provide for numerous expenses and losses injured employees might face. First, your benefits may cover a portion of the income you lose because you cannot go back to your job. Second, you may collect benefits covering medical treatment for your injuries.
Benefits covering lost wages may be temporary and apply to people who are totally disabled or those only partially disabled but still unable to resume full work. People who are totally incapacitated are those who cannot work for at least 6 consecutive calendar days, and these days need not be consecutive.
Temporary total incapacity benefits may cover 60% of your gross average weekly income. This number is calculated from the 52 weeks before your accident occurred. The extent of your benefits varies based on how much money you were earning before your accident. Injured workers may receive benefits for total incapacity for up to 156 weeks.
You might instead qualify for partial disability benefits if you can resume work but for fewer hours or in a position that pays less. Benefits include 75% of your temporary total incapacity benefits – which was 60% of your average income – and may be paid out for up to 260 weeks.
Permanent benefits apply only to those who are totally incapacitated and can likely never return to work. These benefits include 66% of your gross average weekly income. In addition, you cannot receive less than 20% of the state average weekly wage, which changes from year to year. You can also apply for cost-of-living adjustments if your needs or circumstances change.
Perhaps the biggest difference between permanent and temporary disability benefits is that permanent benefits last indefinitely. You can continue to collect benefits for as long as you are disabled. However, if you eventually recover enough to return to work, your benefits may be terminated.
Your Workers’ Compensation benefits also account for medical expenses. After being injured, you might have incurred significant medical debt, and your claim should include benefits for your care needs. In Massachusetts, injured employees may receive benefits covering reasonable health care and medicine. You can also be reimbursed for travel expenses if you must travel to see your doctor.
While the law is broad and includes most reasonable medical treatment needs, the insurance company can challenge any expenses they believe were unnecessary. In such a case, speak to an attorney about getting your medical costs covered or reimbursed.
Filing Your Claim for Workers’ Compensation in North Reading
The process for filing your Workers’ Compensation claim should begin as quickly as possible. Right after your accident, you should report your injuries to your employer. If your injuries prevent you from working for at least 5 full or partial days, your boss is required to submit an Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality form, also known as Form 101.
Informing your boss about your injury the day it occurs means that your boss knows exactly how many days you have been unable to work due to injury. If you wait to tell your employer, they might challenge your version of events and refuse to submit Form 101 until later.
Once your employer’s insurance company has Form 101, they have 14 days to review the claim and decide whether to pay. If your employer does not submit Form 101 within 30 days of your injury, you should speak to an attorney about filing the claim yourself. This might happen because your employer was negligent or they do not believe you are injured. Either way, you can take matters into your own hands.
How to Know if You Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in North Reading
The Workers’ Compensation system in Massachusetts is broad and covers all employees. However, not every worker might be considered an employee within the legal definition. Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 152 § 1(4), an employee is broadly defined as anyone working under an explicit or implied contract for hire. This includes most workers, but certain people are excluded by law. People working on ships engaged in interstate commerce, professional athletes, real estate brokers, and many independent contractors are not covered, among others.
If you are unsure whether you are a covered employee or an independent contractor, you can compare your job duties to the legal description of an independent contractor under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 149 § 148B(a). An independent contractor meets the following three criteria:
- The worker is not controlled or directed by someone else in how they do their job, and
- The work performed by the worker is not within the normal course of business of the person who hired them, and
- The worker’s job duties are within the work they normally perform within an established trade or business.
A problem many injured employees face is that their employers intentionally misrepresent their jobs, so they appear on paper as independent contractors when in reality, they are covered employees. Employers sometimes do this because they lack the legally required insurance to pay for an employee’s compensation and do not want to face legal repercussions. You should immediately contact an attorney if this sounds similar to your situation.
Call Our North Reading Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Now
Reach out to the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to schedule a case evaluation with our Workers’ Compensation lawyers at no charge to you.