Workers' Compensation Attorney in Massachusetts
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Massachusetts State Workers' Compensation Laws
If you are an employee in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there is a strong chance that you are covered by Massachusetts state workers' compensation laws. Understanding what this means, as well as knowing any of your rights under these laws, is very important.
As someone who works in Massachusetts, you can benefit by remaining familiar with both your rights and your responsibilities as an employee who is protected by Massachusetts State Workers' Compensation laws. If you were to become injured on the job or sick as a result of your employment, for example, you would need to follow all of the rules and processes determined by Massachusetts and make sure that your rights are fully protected.
In the event that your rights have been violated or an employer has acted in bad faith regarding Massachusetts state workers’ comp laws, you may need to request the help of an experienced and dedicated lawyer—someone who can help you receive the compensation that you deserve.
It’s easy to get started. You can reach out to Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your legal options.
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What Worker's Compensation Covers in Massachusetts?
Worker's compensation insurance is in place to cover a variety of situations that may affect employees. Many employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance protection. The Massachusetts Worker's Compensation Act requires that employers cover workers for partial wage replacement if those employees need time off to recover and medical care for work-related illnesses and injuries. An employer will need workers comp coverage in Massachusetts for all employees regardless of how much time they log every week. If you work as an employee at your own business, you will also need coverage.
The only exceptions to the working hours each week stipulation are those domestic workers who must meet a minimum of 16 hours each week to retain coverage. Sole proprietors are not responsible for maintaining worker's comp coverage unless they have employees. Worker's compensation insurance covers illnesses from allergens, chemical exposure, or per working conditions. It also covers injuries or accidents that take place on the job. Repetitive stress injuries may also form the basis of a Massachusetts worker's compensation claim. These may develop over time and may not be associated with one single incident. Ongoing care, funeral costs, disability benefits, and missed wages may all be paid for under Massachusetts worker's compensation laws.
How to File a Claim for Worker's Compensation?
You will need to communicate with your employer as soon as possible after an injury has happened on the job or after you've been diagnosed with a medical condition you believe to be tied to your workplace. This gives you the opportunity to notify your employer immediately and protects your legal rights in opening a claim. Failing to notify your employer right after the accident could block you from receiving the worker's compensation benefits you need. Usually, this will be handled by your employer who will fill out paperwork and will submit it to the worker's compensation insurance carrier.
You will need to have the necessary details in order to file a claim. This includes the injured body parts, the exact date of the illness, injury, or death, the kind of injury, the first day that the employee missed work, the subsequent days an employee missed work, and the physician currently seeing the employee for treatment.
From this point, further details will be gathered about worker's compensation, and then the employee will be notified about whether or not their claim has been accepted. It can be devastating to realize that your worker's compensation claim in Massachusetts has been denied, but you do still have the right to appeal this decision and to take necessary precautions.
Who Is Covered Per Massachusetts Laws?
Employees are workers in the service of any other person under a contract of hire, oral or written express or implied. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including certain salespersons in real estate, salespersons working for a broker, being paid only through commission, independent contractors, seamen on vessels engaged in foreign commerce, or interstate commerce students working in a school-to-work program.
Other exceptions include professional athletes if their contract pays them wages during the period of any disability related to their work, cab drivers who lease their vehicle on a fee basis, and employmees in foreign commerce or interstate commerce that are protected under federal workers' comp rules or policies.
How Is Worker's Compensation Calculated?
Accidents and injuries can happen on the job, and a worker's comp policy carried by an employer is a no-fault system that pays for these claims and accidents. It can help pay for permanent injury or disability for lasting injuries, survivor benefits if a worker is killed on the job, missed income for employees who can't perform job duties, and medic and retraining fees for those employees who are unable to return to work. If you are completely unable to return to work while recovering from your work-related accident or injury, you may be eligible to receive what is known as temporary total incapacity benefits in Massachusetts.
These benefits can only begin after you've been unable to work for five days, unless you have been unable to work for a minimum of 21 days. These TTI benefits in Massachusetts will continue until one of the following applies, whichever happens first. This includes:
- Receiving payments for three years;
- Your doctor says you've reached maximum medical improvement; or
- You're able to return to work.
TTI payments are calculated on a weekly basis as 60% of your average weekly wage prior to your illness or injury.
Partial incapacity benefits for worker's comp may also apply if you are able to go back to work, but your illness or injury prevents you from earning as much as you did prior. These weekly payments total 60% of the difference between the injury, the wages you received before your injury, and the amount you're currently capable of earning. If your actual earnings plus partial incapacity benefits total more than twice the statewide average weekly wage, the insurance company may reduce the benefits paid out to you to ensure that your earnings plus benefits total goes down to that point.
Your payments can be extended up to 10 years if your injury has left you with certain kinds of permanent disability, such as at least 75% loss of a limb or lost use of a limb, 75% vision loss in one or both eyes that cannot be corrected, a physical condition that is permanently life-threatening, or an occupational disease that is permanently disabling.
Can I See My Own Doctor?
In many cases after a workplace injury, your employer will tell you that you need to visit the offices of a physician that you may not know. This is because this position may be appointed to help handle workers' compensation claims. You are required to attend visits offered by your employer; however, you may still be eligible to see your own doctors and to continue with that care.
Make sure that you attend any and all appointments and keep good notes about what happens in each of these appointments, as it may become important in the future. Failing to attend appointments or following the treatment plan of the appointed workers' compensation doctor could prove problematic for getting you the benefits you need. Make sure that you work directly with a qualified workers' compensation lawyer in Massachusetts to help you understand each phase of the process and to best protect your legal rights throughout.
Can I Appeal My Claim?
Even if your employer is legally required to carry workers' compensation insurance in case you get hurt or ill on the job, this does not automatically mean that you will receive worker's compensation benefits simply by submitting a claim. Instead, your worker's compensation claim must be approved in order for you to continue receiving benefits. During this time, you will continue to attend appointments with your appointed position and follow a treatment plan with the goal of getting you back to work if possible.
However, it can be shocking to realize that your claim has been denied. You still maintain the ability to appeal that claim if you decide to do so. If your plan has already been denied, you should consider working with a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney to help you.
Working with a Workers' Comp Lawyer
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or your employer has acted in bad faith, you may require the help of an experienced workers' compensation lawyer in Massachusetts. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have extensive experience in helping injured and ill employees to pursue compensation available to them through the protection of workers' compensation laws. If you find yourself dealing with these difficult consequences and struggling to figure out your next steps, get the support of a qualified attorney to guide you through the legal process.
A knowledgeable lawyer will be there to help answer your questions at each stage of your worker's compensation claim. If you have already submitted your claim to the Massachusetts Worker's Compensation Board and had your claim denied as an injured or seriously ill worker, you may be left to deal with medical expenses and lost income while also unable to return to work. A lawyer can help protect your legal rights and to recover the compensation that you are owed and deserve.
For more information, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.