If you suffer from a work-related injury or illness in Somerville, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. It is not necessary to file a lawsuit to obtain these benefits, but it can be very helpful to work with a Somerville workers’ compensation lawyer.
The process of obtaining benefits often involves complex administrative proceedings. A mistake during these proceedings can provide grounds for denial of your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can not only provide advice throughout the process, but also serve as your advocate to help you obtain full benefits to which you may be eligible.
Types of Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a protection plan that provides compensation benefits to employees when they suffer injuries at work. This concept is designed to simplify the process of obtaining medical and wage benefits without the need for a long and complicated lawsuit.
However, the trade-off is that employees are barred from suing their employers for work-related accidents in most cases. Benefits provided through workers’ compensation may not be as comprehensive as those potentially available through a lawsuit.
The workers’ compensation program in Massachusetts includes benefits for:
- Temporary total incapacity
- Temporary partial incapacity
- Permanent and total incapacity
- Medical needs
- Permanent loss of bodily function
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Survivors and dependents (including burial expenses)
- Vocational training
The benefits to which you may be entitled to vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the evidence presented in the claim. Incapacity benefits cover approximately 2/3 of the wages lost while you are unable to work. This amount is reduced if your capacity to work is diminished but not entirely absent.
The Process of Filing a Claim May Involve Several Appeals
A workers’ compensation claim is initiated by the employer after an employee reports an on the job injury or illness. The employer is also supposed to file a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance provider. If the employer fails to do so, or if the insurer denies the claim, the employee may file a claim with the state Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). The DIA could hold a conciliation meeting in which their attorney and your Somerville workers’ compensation lawyer could try to reach an agreement regarding benefits.
If they are unable to do so, a conference would be scheduled with an administrative law judge. As a result of the conference, the judge may issue an order, or the case may go to a full evidentiary hearing. This hearing is held like a trial and it is the last stage where new factual evidence should be introduced. While the results of the hearing may be appealed to the DIA Reviewing Board or even to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, decisions would be reviewed on legal arguments rather than factual grounds.
Get Help from a Somerville Workers’ Comp Attorney Today
While employees seeking workers’ compensation benefits are not required to secure representation from an attorney, the DIA strongly recommends working with a lawyer during conciliation, conference, hearing, or review. In many cases, applicants find it productive to consult with an experienced Somerville workers’ compensation lawyer right from the start.
An attorney who understands this process could provide advice on how to phrase documents, obtain evidence, and present that evidence persuasively. For more information about how a workers’ compensation lawyer could help with your case, call now.