Shrewsbury, MA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
You might have to take time off from work while recovering from an on-the-job injury, but you should not have to go without income. A Workers’ Compensation claim can help you get financial benefits while you recover from your injuries.
Not all injured workers are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. You must be an employer within the definition set by law and miss at least 5 days of work after a work-related accident. If the accident is unrelated to your job, you might not be eligible for coverage. Benefits vary based on your unique situation. Medical costs and a portion of lost earnings may be compensated. Surviving families of workers killed in work accidents may compensated, too. If your claim is denied, we can appeal the denial.
Call (617) 925-6407 and ask our Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan for a free, confidential review of your injuries and claims.
When an Injured Employee Can File for Workers’ Compensation in Shrewsbury, MA
Only employees may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Not all workers are legally classified as employees.
According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch.152 § 1(4), anyone in service to another under a contract for hire may be considered an employee. Be sure to talk to our Workers’ Compensation attorneys about your work situation, as specific categories of workers are excluded from the definition of employee. For example, seamen working on ships engaged in foreign commerce and certain professional athletes are not considered employees.
It is also worth noting that independent contractors are not considered employees and might not be covered by Workers’ Compensation in the event of a work accident. An independent contractor usually has more control over where, when, and how they work. They might also be selective about who they work for and how much they charge for their services.
According to the Department of Industrial Accidents, your injuries must be work-related. This is clearer in some cases but fuzzier in others. An accident on the stairs in your office building while you are on the clock is clearly work-related. But if you are hurt in the airport when you are flying for a business trip? Talk to your lawyer to determine if your accident is truly work-related.
Additionally, you must be unable to work for at least 5 working days. These days may be consecutive but do not have to be. Whenever these 5 days take place, they must occur within 4 years of your injury.
Possible Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation in Shrewsbury, MA
Financial benefits through Workers’ Compensation may vary depending on the extent of your injuries and how long you are out of work. When in doubt, talk to a lawyer.
Your medical expenses may be covered, but only to a certain extent. Generally, medical treatment and procedures that are deemed reasonably necessary to your recovery are covered by Workers’ Compensation.
This wide net may cover almost anything as long as it is reasonably necessary. Optional or elective treatment and procedures may not be included. If you are not sure whether the treatment you received was medically necessary or if it was optional, talk to your attorney and your doctor.
Survivors and Dependents
Survivors and dependents of people killed in work-related accidents may be eligible for benefits. You may be eligible if you are the spouse of someone who passed away because of work-related injuries or if you are a child of such a person. To be eligible, children must be under 18, full-time students, or unable to work due to disabilities.
A spouse may be eligible for weekly benefits of up to 66% of their deceased spouse’s average weekly income. Also, surviving spouses may apply for a cost-of-living adjustment after 2 years. If the surviving spouse remarries, eligible children may be paid $60 each week. Families may also receive funeral and burial costs.
Benefits for temporary total incapacity include no more than 60% of your average weekly income. This amount is based on your average income from the preceding 52 weeks. Such benefits may last no longer than 156 weeks.
Temporary partial benefits are somewhat less than temporary total incapacity benefits. These benefits are worth 75% of your temporary total incapacity benefits. However, these benefits last longer and may be paid up to 260 weeks.
When employees are permanently disabled and unable to return to work at all, they might be eligible for permanent and total incapacity benefits. You may get up to 66% of your gross average weekly wage for as long as your disability lasts, even indefinitely. On top of that, you may have a cost-of-living adjustment each year.
What Happens if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied in Shrewsbury, MA
If the insurance company denies your claim and refuses to pay you Workers’ Compensation, we can help you file an appeal and hopefully get your claim approved.
The first stage is conciliation and is the initial method of dispute resolution. Conciliation is a meeting between you and your lawyer, the insurance company’s lawyer, and someone from the Department of Industrial Accidents. The goal of this meeting is to reach an agreement that all parties can agree on. Your case may move to the next phase if no such agreement is reached.
The second stage is a conference in front of an administrative law judge. Both parties may present their claims to the judge, but this is not as formal of a hearing as a normal trial. For example, you do not have to call witnesses but can explain what witnesses would say. The judge may or may not order the insurance company to pay.
If your case is still denied, you may move to the third stage, a hearing. This is a more formal legal hearing in front of the same judge as before. At the hearing, you must present more formal evidence and witnesses that comply with relevant evidentiary rules and standards. At the end, the judge will issue a ruling.
You can escalate your appeal to the Industrial Accidents Review Board if you are still out of luck. The Board consists of 6 administrative law judges. They may ask for more information and documentation when they review the case. The Board may uphold or reverse the decision from the hearing before. If things still do not go your way, an attorney can help you take your case to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.
Speak to Our Shrewsbury, MA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Call (617) 925-6407 and ask our Workers’ Compensation attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan for a free, private assessment of your injuries and claims.