It can be a traumatic experience when you suffer a work-related injury or illness. On top of dealing with health problems, you might also be worried about medical bills as well as other routine expenses. The Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws exist to provide benefits to workers who get injured on the job. It’s a state-mandated insurance program where workers have the right to certain benefits paid by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier of your employer.
Here at The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, we regularly come across cases where injured workers have been denied claims for frivolous reasons. While injured workers have the right to claim benefits, insurance companies and employers are always looking for ways to escape liability for the injured worker’s claims. Our experienced and hard-working Brockton personal injury lawyers have secured benefits for many clients.
Give us a call at 508-506-5681 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.
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What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system where workers injured on the job are eligible for medical benefits and other financial payments to help them deal with the consequences of their injuries. Almost all the employers in Massachusetts are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance and the benefits are paid by the insurance carrier of your employer.
In Massachusetts, the administration of workers compensation law is overseen by the Department of Industrial Accidents. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. It simply means that there is no need for you to prove who was at fault and you can get the benefits even if you’re at fault. The only thing that needs to be proven is that the illness or injury suffered is work-related.
However, the workers’ compensation system can be confusing for workers who have never filed a workers’ compensation claim. Also, around half the workers’ comp claims are denied initially. This is why it is recommended to retain the services of an experienced workers compensation attorney in Brockton.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover?
Here is a list of the benefits that are available under the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts:
All the medical expenses related to work-related injury or illness are required to be paid. It includes surgeries, medication, doctor’s visits, hospital stays, wheelchairs, and any other equipment that is necessary for the treatment. It is important to keep in mind that the insurance carrier has the right to stop your treatment in case they are of the opinion that you do not need it anymore.
Necessary Travel Expenses
Injured employees are also entitled to the necessary travel expenses they incur to receive treatment for their injuries.
Scarring and Disfigurement Benefits
In case the injured employee has suffered permanent disfigurement, they are entitled to a one-time lump sum payment for their losses. Victims are eligible in case they suffer significant scarring, disfigurement, or permanent loss of function of their hands, neck, or face. This benefit is over and above the medical expenses and loss of wages.
Wage Loss Benefits
These are the wage replacement benefits that people generally refer to when they discuss workers’ compensation benefits. There are 3 different types of benefits including temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and permanent and total disability benefits.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Injured workers qualify for these benefits if they are unable to work for more than 5 days. These benefits entitle workers to collect 60% of the wages they might have earned without the injury. These are paid on a weekly basis. These benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 156 weeks or 3 years. There is an upper limit.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
If you are able to return to work but are not able to earn as much as you used to as a result of your illness or injury, you are eligible to get a maximum of 75% of your weekly total temporary benefits (TTB is 60% of the gross average weekly wage). These are paid for a maximum of 260 weeks or 5 years.
Permanent and Total Incapacity Benefits
in case the employee is permanently and totally disabled as a result of the injury, the victim is entitled to benefits as long as they are disabled. The benefits are 66% of the gross average weekly wage. Injured workers are also entitled to an annual cost-of-living adjustment. However, the insurance company has the right to file a complaint about the discontinuation of your benefits at any time.
If an employee loses their life due to a work-related injury or illness, the children, spouse, or other financial dependents are eligible for death benefits. The surviving dependents have the right to receive 66% of the average weekly wage of the deceased.
Pain and Suffering
Employees are not eligible to get benefits for their pain and suffering. Additional benefits might be provided in case the pain resulting from a physical injury causes a mental disorder.
Some other benefits might also be available through workers’ compensation such as the cost of attending vocational rehabilitation for qualifying workers.
As you might have realized, the workers’ compensation laws are complex in nature. Insurance carriers try to take advantage of the complexity of these laws and lack of knowledge among the employees regarding their legal rights to minimize the payouts or deny the claims. This is why you should immediately get in touch with The Law Office of Robert C. Shea when you have suffered an on-the-job injury.
Learn More about Specific Workers’ Compensation Topics Here:
- Lump-Sum Settlements
- Medical Benefits
- Partial Disability
- Permanent Loss of Function
- Permanent & Total Disability
- Surviving Spouse Benefits
- Temporary Total Disability
Give a call at 508-506-5681 to schedule a free consultation.
What Should I Do If I Am Hurt on the Job?
There are certain steps you need to take if you are injured on the job in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Give a Written Notice to Your Employer
You should immediately notify your employer when you get injured on the job. If you’re out of work for more than 5 days, it is the responsibility of your employer to report your work-related illness or injury to their insurance company as well as the Department of Industrial Accidents within 7 days. If your claim is denied, you have the option of filing on your own with the Department of Industrial Accidents. You will need to provide additional information with the claim.
Seek Medical Attention
It is important that you seek immediate medical attention for any work-related injury or illness. It is also important that you ask your doctor to use workers’ compensation and not regular medical insurance. It is recommended to see an occupational clinician as they typically have much more experience with paperwork for workers’ compensation.
If you are injured on the job, make it a habit to document everything. Keep a copy of the letter where you have reported the incident to your employer. Also, whenever you are asked to sign something, ask for a copy. If there are any witnesses, it is important for you to document their names. Start documenting your injuries. Take photographs at regular intervals. You should also start a diary to note down your symptoms and the progress of your treatment.
Seek an Experienced Workers Compensation Attorney
The Massachusetts workers compensation law does not require you to retain the services of a lawyer for filing your workers’ compensation claim. You can do it on your own but when you consider the complexity of filing a workers compensation claim along with the documents you are required to submit, it makes a lot of sense to have an experienced lawyer by your side. You will certainly need legal representation if an employer or their insurance carrier chooses to deny your claim.
Give a call at 508-506-5681 to schedule a free consultation for discussing the details of your case. You do not need to pay anything upfront as The Law Office of Robert C. Shea works on a contingency fee basis.
Why Should I Hire a Brockton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
The law does not require you to retain the services of a Brockton workers compensation lawyer but when you start digging into the complexity of workers compensation laws, you will quickly realize the importance of having an experienced lawyer by your side.
Insurance companies and employers typically have expensive legal representation. They are not in the business of paying benefits and they want to save as much money as possible. This is why almost 50% of the workers’ compensation claims are either disputed or outright denied.
Here at The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, we regularly come across cases where valid workers compensation claims are either disputed or denied. We will fight for your rights. We regularly negotiate with insurance carriers to win maximum compensation for our clients. We will help you receive the benefits you deserve.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Brockton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
You are not required to pay anything upfront for your workers’ compensation claim. We work on a contingency fee basis which means we will recover our costs from the settlement you are awarded. Also, we get paid only if we win. The Massachusetts workers compensation act provides that attorney fees are not to exceed 20% of the settlement amount.
What Should I Do If My Workers Compensation Claim Is Denied?
Workers’ compensation claims can be denied. In fact, half of the claims are denied or disputed for various reasons. Here is a list of some of the frequent reasons:
- If the employee doesn’t notify the employer of the workplace injury as soon as possible, the employer might argue that the employee’s claim should be denied.
- Sometimes, employers claim that the condition was pre-existing and the injury or illness was not related to workplace activities.
- At times, employers or their insurance carriers try to argue that the injury or illness is not work-related.
Fortunately, denied claims can always be appealed and can be overturned which allows you to receive the benefits you deserve. You will need to file an appeal with the Department of Industrial Accidents. The process starts with filing a Form 110 – Employee Claim form and you will need to provide a lot of additional information such as:
- Date of your injury
- First calendar day of the work missed
- 5th calendar day of the work missed
- Workers compensation insurance carrier of your employer
- Type of injuries you have suffered
- Affected body parts
- Type of benefits you want
- How long are you expected to remain out of work, if known
- Current medical provider
In addition, you are also required to attach a copy of the medical reports, unpaid medical bills, witness statements, witness names, and reports supporting the accident.
In case your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you should immediately call The Law Office of Robert C. Shea at 508-506-5681. Filing an appeal is a complicated process and you need all the help you can get. We have represented many clients and have helped them win the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.
Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers Compensation Claim?
No, you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, you cannot be retaliated against in any form for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Workers Compensation Claim in Massachusetts?
The statute of limitations applies in work-related injury cases. You have up to 4 years to file a workers’ compensation claim from the date of your injury. In case you have been paid any indemnity benefits or if you have been paid for your medical treatment, the statute of limitations does not apply. In case a worker has lost their life, the claim needs to be filed within 4 years of the date of the passing.
Can I Sue My Employer?
The workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts is a no-fault system. It simply means that you cannot sue your employer when you are injured on the job but you have the legal right to recover benefits under the workers’ compensation system. It is not necessary for the injured employee to establish negligence on the part of the employer to claim benefits.
However, the workers’ compensation system allows employees to sue their employers for serious and willful misconduct under the workers’ compensation system but the burden of proof is extremely high in such cases. It is also important to keep in mind that this protection from negligence suits and other civil lawsuits is available only to employers. In case a third party other than the employer is responsible for the injury, they can be sued in a separate civil lawsuit.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers Compensation Claim in Brockton, Massachusetts?
Independent contractors are not covered by the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts. However, the employer needs to prove that the victim is an independent contractor with a 3 prong test. An independent contractor is defined as someone who:
- Doesn’t work under the control and direction of the employer
- Performs work outside the usual course of employer’s business
- Has their own independent business
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
It is scary to be involved in a work-related accident. You will have a lot of questions regarding your future and your financial situation. In addition, you will also have to deal with your employer and the insurance adjusters.
Here at The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, we have years of experience in helping injured workers get the benefits they deserve. We will fight for your rights. We will aggressively negotiate with your employer and their insurance carrier to help you get the benefits you need and deserve. If needed, we will represent and advocate for you in hearings before the administrative judge at the DIA.
Give us a call at 508-506-5681 for scheduling a free, no-obligation initial consultation.