Taunton, MA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Being injured at work is something nobody should have to deal with, but it is an unfortunate reality for many. If you are hurt on the job, a Workers’ Compensation claim can help you get the money you need to get back on your feet.

Not all injured workers are eligible for Workers’ Compensation. The law states that all employees are covered. This broad definition includes many if not most workers, but some are excluded. For example, independent contractors are largely excluded from coverage. If you are eligible, you may obtain benefits for medical expenses and lost earnings. Whether your injuries and disabilities are total, partial, permanent, or temporary will also play important roles in how you are awarded benefits.

Call our Workers’ Compensation lawyers at (617) 925-6407 and schedule a free, confidential review of your case with the team at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation in Taunton, MA

The Workers’ Compensation system in Massachusetts is broad and covers many workers. However, certain categories of workers are not covered and cannot file claims. Some understand they are not covered when they are hired for the job. For others, the distinction is less clear.

Covered Employees

In Massachusetts, the law holds that Workers’ Compensation covers all employees, and coverage begins on the first day of work. There is no requirement for a waiting or probationary period. It does not matter if you are only a few hours into your first day of work. If you are a covered employee, your injuries should be covered by the Workers’ Compensation system.

While the term “employee” loosely describes anyone doing work for anyone else, the law makes some important distinctions. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 152 § 1(4), an employee is defined as anyone in the service of another under a contract for hire. In short, employees are almost anyone hired to do a job for someone else.

On top of being legally considered an employee, your injuries and disabilities from the accident must meet certain requirements. First, your injuries must stem from a work-related accident. Being injured while off the clock or doing things unrelated to your job might disqualify you from Workers’ Compensation.

Second, you must be disabled for at least 5 full or partial days. These days do not need to be consecutive, but they must occur within 4 years of your accident. If you are unable to work for less than 5 days, you might still be able to file a claim, but only for medical benefits, not lost income.

Independent Contractors

One important determination regarding eligibility for Workers’ Compensation is whether you are an independent contractor. Under the law, independent contractors are legally not considered employees and are therefore not covered by Workers’ Compensation.

While some workers are fully aware that they are independent contractors, the line between them and an employee is sometimes blurred. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 149 § 148B, all workers are presumed to be employees unless the person who hired them can show otherwise. The law describes multiple factors that might indicate that someone is an independent contractor.

An independent contractor may be someone free of control from the person who hired them. The hiring client does not tell the contractor how to work. For example, if you hired a plumber to fix your toilet, you would not instruct them on how to do it.

Another factor to consider is whether the work being performed is within the normal business practices of the person hiring you. For example, the plumber hired in the above example might not be an independent contractor if a plumbing company or business hires them.

The law provides numerous factors you should discuss with a lawyer. While no single factor fully determines whether someone is an independent contractor, most contractors tend to tick multiple boxes.

Possible Benefits Under the Workers’ Compensation System in Taunton, MA

Benefits from a Workers’ Compensation claim can help injured employees get back on their feet while they cannot work and earn a living. It is important to discuss your case with our Workers’ Compensation lawyers before you submit any paperwork, claims, or documentation, and there are various benefits to consider.

Medical Benefits

Medical benefits may help you pay for reasonably necessary medical costs from your work-related accident. This is a major sticking point for many claimants as medical bills tend to be very costly, even when treatment is relatively minor.

Remember, only reasonably necessary treatment is covered by Workers’ Compensation. Obviously, this included possible life-saving procedures, like emergency surgery. It might also include follow-up appointments, physical therapy, medication, and mobility aids like crutches or wheelchairs.

You likely cannot claim medical expenses for unnecessary treatments. For example, cosmetic surgery to eliminate or minimize scarring from your initial emergency surgery might not be covered because it might not be fully necessary for your recovery. However, what the insurance company argues is an unnecessary cosmetic procedure might actually be a necessary reconstructive procedure. An attorney can help you get your costs covered.

Lost Income

Your benefits might differ based on whether you are totally or only partially incapacitated and whether your disability is temporary or permanent. Suppose you are temporarily and totally incapacitated and unable to work at all. In that case, you can claim 60% of your gross average weekly income based on the 52 weeks of work preceding your injury. You must also be unable to work for at least 6 days, which does not have to be consecutive. Total incapacity benefits may last for up to 156 weeks.

For permanent total disability, you can claim up to 66% of your lost wages and receive benefits as long as you are incapacitated.

You can also file a claim if you can still work but in a lesser capacity than before. In such cases, claimants may receive 75% of their temporary total incapacity benefits, which are themselves only up to 60% of their average weekly wage.

Call Our Taunton, MA Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Help

Call our Workers’ Compensation lawyers at (617) 925-6407 and schedule a free, confidential review of your case with the team at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.