When Should I Get a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Massachusetts?
If you have suffered a workplace injury or work-related illness, you have recourse available to obtain compensation that will help you deal with your medical expenses and lost income. You can access these benefits through a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation claim. Getting counsel from a dedicated Massachusetts Workers’ Comp lawyer is vital for the success of your claim.
This critical step cannot happen soon enough. From the very beginning, Workers’ Comp lawyers can identify whether you have a valid Workers’ Comp claim under Massachusetts law. Having a lawyer on your case can also help you prevent filing mistakes and missed deadlines. Your lawyer can advocate for you in official hearings and navigate the appeals process if the insurance company tries to deny a claim.
At the Law Office of John J. Sheehan, our Massachusetts Workers’ Comp lawyers’ vigorous representation starts with a free initial case assessment for your potential insurance claim or injury lawsuit. Get started today by calling (617) 993-0198.
When to Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Lawyer
After your injury, your first step should be to seek medical attention to treat your injuries and establish a record of your condition. Your second step should be to contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp attorney. In the world of Workers’ Compensation, everything moves very quickly, and you will want to be able to hit the ground running. There is no better way to set yourself up for success than using competent legal counsel to make your Workers’ Comp claim.
Workers’ Compensation is paid through insurance that your employer must carry. As such, you need to report your accident and injuries to your employer immediately. Your employer is the one who must contact the insurance company and get the claim started, so the sooner you notify them, the better. After you notify your employer and get medical treatment, you should speak to a lawyer about your situation. Our Chelsea Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help you follow up with your employer to make sure your claim is properly filed.
Talking to an Attorney Before You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Massachusetts
Injured workers have a lot on their minds, and many probably do not know when to talk to an attorney about their case. The easy answer to this dilemma is to speak to a lawyer almost immediately after you are injured. Even if you decide to handle your case alone and forego a lawyer, an attorney can offer guidance on your case and point you in the right direction.
If you do end up hiring a lawyer right away, they can help you contend with your employer. Your boss plays a big role in your Workers’ Compensation claim since they are the one responsible for maintaining the proper insurance. Even if your boss is well-meaning and concerned for your health and safety, they might be unsure how even to begin a claim. Speaking to an attorney quickly might help you in this regard and ensure a strong start to your claim.
In some cases, employers refuse to believe their employer is injured enough to need a Workers’ Compensation claim. In those cases, employers might refuse to file the claim at all. In such cases, you and our Danvers Workers’ Compensation lawyers can start the case on your own. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the sooner you can overcome this hurdle. You should speak with an attorney immediately before anything is even filed, just so you have legal representation if things go wrong.
Your Lawyer Can Identify Whether You Have a Valid Workers’ Comp Claim in Massachusetts
Massachusetts law makes Workers’ Compensation insurance the primary method for injured workers to recover financial assistance for injuries suffered while on the job. This applies whether your employer negligently caused your injury or if it was merely an accident. Almost every employee is covered by some form of Workers’ Comp policy through their employer.
This insurance kicks in when an employee suffers an injury while at work or a work-related illness. The condition must be severe enough to affect the worker for longer than five days. Note that under Massachusetts law, this five-day period does not need to be consecutive.
To be compensable, an injury must arise “out of and in the course of employment.” While some instances of workplace injury may be cut and dry, this vague definition can cause issues for claimants. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident while driving a company vehicle, you will have to show that you were using the vehicle in the scope of your employment.
The insurance company may choose to deny your claim if they feel that the accident that caused your injuries didn’t occur in the course of your employment. Our Boston Workers’ Compensation attorneys can educate you on the requirements and help you prove that you deserve Workers’ Comp coverage for your injuries.
How Can a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Lawyer Help You with the Workers’ Comp Claim Process?
While injured workers are not required to use a Workers’ Compensation lawyer to pursue their claim, those who do are successful substantially more often and tend to get through the claims process faster. Below are some areas where having a Malden Workers’ Compensation lawyer by your side can be a serious advantage.
Filing Your Claim
You would not believe how many Workers’ Comp claims are delayed or denied because of mistakes in paperwork. Massachusetts Workers’ Comp attorneys are aware of the common issues found in claims and can help you avoid those and meet all the relevant procedural deadlines.
This is another good reason to hire a lawyer as soon as possible, ideally right after you are injured. The filing process is not only time-sensitive, but it can also be very complicated. You might need to submit evidence of your injuries, such as information from your medical records. How you word your explanations also plays a significant role. Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation attorneys have handled cases like this before, know what the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) is looking for, and can help you explain your situation in a way that is likely to get your application approved.
To get Workers’ Compensation benefits, many claimants will have to make their case directly to an arbitrator. Often, hearings are held before a conciliator for the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). This environment can be intimidating or overwhelming for non-lawyers, especially those dealing with serious injuries.
At this point, having a lawyer on your side is crucial. Legal hearings of any kind tend to follow strict rules and procedures, and people spend weeks or even months preparing for them. Talk to an attorney about your hearing as soon as possible. An attorney should have the legal experience to successfully get you through the hearing. They can help you with issues of evidence, arguments, and dealing with whatever comes next.
Appealing a Denial
Insurance companies deny claims all the time, especially when they recognize that the claimant doesn’t have legal representation. Initial denials are often used as a tactic to try to get claimants to give up on their recovery, ultimately saving the insurance company money. However, many claimants who receive denials are unaware that they have the opportunity to appeal the denial. You should contact an attorney before you even file the claim so that they can begin working on the appeal immediately if your claim is rejected.
There are several stages of appeal for Workers’ Comp denials, including the potential to go all the way up to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the highest judicial body in the Commonwealth. However, to exercise your right to appeal, you must adhere to very tight procedural deadlines, of which a seasoned Cambridge Workers’ Comp lawyer will be well aware.
Identifying a Potential Injury Lawsuit
If you were injured at work due to employer negligence, your path to recovery is almost always through Workers’ Compensation. However, if your injuries resulted from the negligence of another party, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that party. Personal injury lawsuits provide more in compensation than Workers’ Compensation claims, so they should always be identified where possible. If the accident that caused your injuries occurred as a result of a manufacturing defect in a power tool or the failure of a contractor to maintain your work area, you will want the help of a Wakefield Workers’ Comp lawyer to assess your best path forward.
Your Lawyer Can Help You File Your Workers’ Comp Claim in Massachusetts on Time
Notifying your employer of your injury is not the same thing as filing a claim. In some cases, your employer may file the claim on your behalf, but if they don’t, it is your responsibility to file for yourself. The time limit for filing your claim is four years from the date of the injury. In the case of work-related illnesses, the clock starts when you discover the connection between the illness and your job.
Speaking to a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer About Retaliation from Your Boss
Not only can a lawyer help you file your claim and navigate the process of getting approved for Workers’ Compensation, but they can also help you deal with uncooperative employers. In some cases, employers retaliate against injured employees who file for Workers’ Compensation. This might happen for a number of reasons, but it often happens because the employer does not want to deal with the injured worker. Instead, they would rather fire the injured worker and hire someone else to do the job.
Other times, employers are afraid of some adverse action against them. Perhaps the accident was a direct result of serious industrial violations, and your employer is afraid of sanctions from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Alternatively, some employers try to fire injured workers because they do not carry Workers’ Compensation insurance as required by law, and they fear legal penalties if someone finds out.
If there is no insurance, our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help you sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney can also help you navigate any adverse employment action taken by your employer so you can file your claim. If there is no insurance, your attorney can help you decide if a personal injury lawsuit is possible.
Is it Too Late to Speak to An Attorney About Filing a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Being injured in a work-related accident can be painful and overwhelming. Many injured workers do not even consider filing for Workers’ Compensation until the subject is brought to their attention sometime later. In some cases, many months or even longer might have passed since the accident, and injured workers might wonder whether it is too late to file. Workers’ Compensation claims need not be filed immediately, although they are time-sensitive. If you are unsure about filing after waiting for a while, you should immediately call our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation attorneys for help.
Speaking to an attorney immediately is ideal, but you can still talk to one after your claim has been filed or even rejected. If you need to file your claims again, a lawyer can help you avoid the mistakes that might have led to your previous rejection.
Your attorney can also reevaluate your claim to determine if you qualify for Workers’ Compensation or if a different legal avenue is better. You should also speak to an attorney if you were injured some time ago and never reported the injury. If you missed work because of your injury but never filed a Workers’ Compensation claim, an attorney might be able to help you get compensation for the income you lost and your medical expenses.
Talk to Our Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Lawyers Today
Whether you were injured very recently, a few weeks ago, or a few months ago, it is not too late to get legal help and file a Workers’ compensation claim. To get a free initial case assessment from the Somerville Workers’ Comp lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan, call us at our offices at (617) 993-0198.