Quincy Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Work injuries are particularly difficult, not just because of the cost and difficulty associated with rehabilitating them, but because they often prevent the victim from meeting the responsibilities of their job, at least temporarily. In these cases, there may be more than one path to recovery, so it is important to identify what options are available to you.
The traditional path is through Workers’ Compensation insurance, which is available to any employee who suffers an injury or develops an illness while at work. However, if your injury was caused by a third party’s negligence, you may be able to mount a workplace injury lawsuit against that party, which can be better for your recovery value than an insurance claim.
To find out more about your case and what options you may have to recover compensation, call the Quincy Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of John Sheehan. When you call us at (617) 977-6647 today, you can obtain a first-time case evaluation for no charge.
Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Quincy
If you were injured while on the job, you may have questions about 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 Quincy 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 illnesses like mesothelioma that are caused by exposure to substances.
Suing for a Workplace Injury in Quincy
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the exclusive remedy for a workplace injury is Workers’ Compensation insurance. In other words, if you get injured on the job, you likely cannot sue your employer, even if they were at fault for causing the accident. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
If another entity other than your actual employer was to blame for negligently, recklessly, or intentionally injuring you, you can 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.
Advantages of a Workplace Injury Lawsuit Over a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Quincy
As discussed above, lawsuits are not always available for those injured on the job. However, when they are, they can be a much better option for the injury victim than a traditional Workers’ Compensation claim.
Caps on Workers’ Compensation Coverage
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.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Denials
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 Boston 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.
Get Workers’ Compensation or File a Workplace Injury Lawsuit in Quincy with The Law Office of John Sheehan
When you reach out to our offices at (617) 977-6647 today, our seasoned Quincy Workers’ Compensation attorneys can provide you with a free initial case assessment.