What is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation, Disability, and a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, there are multiple ways in which a person who can no longer work can make up their lost income. Opportunities include workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and filing a personal injury lawsuit. While all these programs and opportunities are designed to help injured employees, they come with some pretty crucial differences, and some options may be better suited for different people.
The options mentioned above may only be taken advantage of if the circumstances allow it. Workers’ compensation and SSDI are typically available to workers who have become injured or disabled, but the payout tends to be a bit more restricted. On the other hand, personal injury lawsuits allow for much greater payouts but present unique challenges to plaintiffs. Our Boston personal injury attorneys can help you figure out which option is right for you.
To arrange a free and confidential legal consultation, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407. Our experienced team will help you get the benefits or compensation you need to survive.
Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts
Worker’s compensation is a system of benefits designed for employees who were injured on the job. To be eligible, an employee must have been working within the scope of their employment when the accident happened. This often means an employee must have been at their work location, such as an office or other work setting, and performing their job duties. If your accident was not work-related, you might not be eligible for compensation.
Much like SSDI and personal injury lawsuits, the point of workers’ compensation is to allow injured employees to make up for lost wages. When an employee is injured, they may have expensive medical bills to pay, and they may miss work so they can recover. Workers’ compensation provides people with funds to cover expenses and make ends meet until they can return to work.
One key difference between worker’s compensation and the other options is that worker’s compensation is paid through insurance carried by employers. All employers in the State of Massachusetts are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Those that do not carry any open themselves up to legal action.
Another unique element of workers’ compensation is that it is very often mandatory. Employees injured on the job usually have no other choice than to file a workers’ compensation claim under Massachusetts law. Personal injury lawsuits against employers are generally barred, but you may still sue other third parties.
One downside to workers’ compensation is that pain and suffering are not considered when calculating compensation awards. This will usually limit awards to medical bills and a portion of lost income. However, a silver lining is that no fault is required for workers’ compensation. You could be entirely to blame for your accident and still be covered. Speak with our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys to find out if this option is best for you.
Disability Benefits in Massachusetts
SSDI sometimes referred to as disability benefits or just “disability,” is a form of Social Security that people may apply for when they can no longer work. Unlike workers’ compensation, you do not necessarily have to be injured at work to be eligible for SSDI. Instead, you must simply be prevented from working due to a disability. A work-related incident could bring on your disability, or it could result from a medical condition or non-work-related accident.
SSDI benefits are calculated differently from workers’ compensation, and it is not based on damages like a personal injury lawsuit would be. Instead, the amount of money you can receive under SSDI depends on your average income from your previous working years. This means the more money you earned during your working years, the bigger your payments may be. This also means that if you do not have any work experience, such as would be the case for a homemaker or a minor, you might not be eligible for SSDI.
Contact our Boston disability benefits attorneys for more information about SSDI.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Massachusetts
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is different from the other options mentioned above because it is not a system of benefits for which you need to prove eligibility. A personal injury lawsuit is a private legal action taken by a plaintiff to get compensation from a defendant who they believe is responsible for their damages. While injured employees can file personal injury lawsuits – unless workers’ compensation is required – you may also file a lawsuit for many other reasons.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is different than filing for benefits or disability because you must prove damages and fault. Your damages are the injuries you sustained and any related expenses. This may include medical bills and lost earnings from missing work.
Personal injury lawsuits are also different because you may claim damages for pain and suffering, both physical and mental. Because of this, personal injury lawsuits tend to result in larger payouts when successful. Speak with our Malden personal injury attorneys today to discuss your legal options.
How an Attorney Can Help You Get Compensation or Benefits in Massachusetts
An attorney can help you through all legal processes associated with the above legal options. For workers’ compensation and SSDI, an attorney can help you file the correct paperwork and gather the necessary evidence for your applications. Workers’ compensation and SSDI are often fraught with complex rules and lots of red tape. One wrong move and you could be denied. Your lawyer will help you file your applications correctly the first time. If you are unfortunately denied, a lawyer can also help you appeal your case.
An attorney is not only helpful in personal injury lawsuits but downright crucial. Without the in-depth legal knowledge and experience of an attorney, it is extremely difficult to file a personal injury lawsuit or any lawsuit for that matter. Lawyers can help you calculate your damages, draft necessary arguments, and gather critical evidence for your case. Speak to our Massachusetts injury lawyers to determine what course of action is best for you.
Call Our Massachusetts Injury Attorneys Today
If you are unemployed due to injuries sustained in an accident or a disability, you have multiple options when it comes to making ends meet. Speak with our Somerville injury attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (617) 925-6407. We can set up a free consultation to talk about your situation and needs.