What Type of Attorney Do You Need if You Are Hurt on the Job in Massachusetts?
Being hurt at work can make it hard to move forward with your life. If your injuries keep you from working, you could be left without the income to pay for serious injuries, let alone the other expenses life brings. Getting compensation often means turning to a lawyer for help, but what kind of lawyer should you turn to?
Lawyers often practice in certain areas of the law, such as business law, family law, criminal law, and personal injury. Personal injury attorneys can often help with injury cases at work, but you should consider taking your case to an attorney that also handles Workers’ Compensation claims if you faced an on-the-job injury. Many injury attorneys do not take Workers’ Compensation cases, which could mean they might not actually be able to help you properly address your claim.
For help, call the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. Contact us at (617) 925-6407 for a free case review today.
What Kind of Lawyers Handle Work Injury Cases in Massachusetts?
Finding a lawyer to handle your work injury case is important. If you personally know an attorney or already work with an attorney as part of your job or a previous legal case, note that that lawyer might not be right for your injury case. Lawyers typically work in different practice areas and will not necessarily be the right fit for a work injury claim.
After a workplace injury, you will typically want a personal injury lawyer to handle your case as opposed to a lawyer in some other practice area. Note that many “general practitioners” handle a wide range of cases, but turning to an injury lawyer, specifically, can help you know that your attorney has experience handling cases like yours.
That being said, not all injury lawyers do the same kind of work. Many personal injury attorneys focus on car accidents or slip and falls and typically avoid work injury cases. This could simply be a preference for what kinds of cases the attorney wants to handle, but it could also be because of the Workers’ Compensation system in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts, like most states, uses a Workers’ Compensation system to get injured workers payments for their on-the-job injuries. This system makes Workers’ Compensation the required system for getting compensation in many cases, and only certain types of cases are allowed to proceed to a lawsuit outside this filing system. Many personal injury lawyers do not actually take Workers’ Compensation cases, meaning that they would not be a good fit for your case unless it falls into one of these slim exceptions.
Our Massachusetts personal injury attorneys do indeed handle Workers’ Compensation cases, meaning that no matter how your work injury occurred, our attorneys will be prepared to handle your case and pursue all avenues for compensation.
Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation vs. Work Injury Lawsuits in Massachusetts
At the Law Office of John J. Sheehan, our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers handle both workplace injury lawsuits and Workers’ Compensation claims. That means that whichever process is right for your claim, our lawyers can help you get the compensation you need. If you will be pursuing a work injury claim, it is important to understand both systems and what benefits they provide, as well as the drawbacks of each system. As part of a free case review, we can help you determine how to proceed and what damages you could be entitled to.
Under Massachusetts’ Workers’ Compensation system, you file a claim with your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance to get payments for an injury instead of filing a lawsuit in court. Under this system, you get a percentage of your lost wages covered and all medical care related to the injury is covered. To get these benefits, you do not need to prove fault – your injury just needs to be something that was work-related and something that you did not intentionally cause.
Filing through this system is often complex. You start by notifying your employer of your injuries and filing a claim with them, but there are also filings to make with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). After that, your case then might goes through various levels of review and potential appeals that our Boston Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help you with.
Workers’ Compensation benefits are limited, however. Only a portion of your lost wages are covered, and no benefits are paid for pain and suffering.
Lawsuits for Work Injuries
When filing a lawsuit for a work injury, you could be entitled to damages beyond what Workers’ Compensation pays, but there are limitations.
While Workers’ Compensation pays only a percentage of lost wages and blocks pain and suffering damages, a lawsuit allows full compensation for all damages. This includes potentially claiming pain and suffering and other “non-economic” or “special” damages that would be blocked through Workers’ Compensation.
However, to get compensation in the first place, you need to prove fault. To meet this burden in court, you need to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant violated a legal duty they owed you, and that that duty caused your injuries. In many workplace accident cases, the accident is either an employer’s fault or happened because of an accident you caused. Workers’ Compensation allows benefits to still be paid in both scenarios – as long as you did not intentionally cause the accident. A lawsuit obviously does not allow you to sue yourself, and lawsuits against employers are also restricted.
Lawsuits against employers are generally blocked, with Workers’ Compensation referred to as the “exclusive remedy.” While there may be some exceptions that do let you sue your employer instead of using Workers’ Compensation, most work injury lawsuits are filed against other third-party actors instead of your employer. Special rules might also apply for sole proprietors and contractors, so make sure to speak with our Burlington Workers’ Compensation lawyers about whether a lawsuit is possible in your accident case.
Call Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation and Work Injury Lawyers Today
If you were hurt in an accident at work, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407. We offer free case reviews.