Helping Workers In Massachusetts With Their Claims
When an injury occurs on the job and was due to the negligence of a nonemployee, the injured employee has two workers’ compensation claims in Massachusetts. The first is to recover all available benefits in accordance with the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Statute that does not allow recovery for pain and suffering and the second is to bring a personal injury claim against the negligent party to recover for pain and suffering and other consequential damages not covered in the Workers’ Compensation Statute. At Bailey & Burke, our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers have been representing employees hurt on the job since 1971 and will always investigate the potential personal injury claim in addition to the workers’ compensation claim.
Simply stated, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation statute is a “No-Fault” wage replacement system designed to pay the injured worker both medical benefits and lost wages during his or her period of absence from work due to an injury that occurred at work. In many cases, an injured worker may also be eligible to receive additional training and schooling if their work injury prevents them from returning to their previous occupation.
Since Massachusetts has a “No-Fault” workers’ compensation statute, the injured worker is not able to sue their employer or co-workers for the damages called pain and suffering under that law. While the workers’ compensation statute was designed to protect interests of the injured worker and his or her family, disputes between the injured worker, his or her employer and the workers’ compensation insurer often arise, therefore you will need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Massachusetts to guide you through this difficult situation.
What Are The Basic Legal Rights Of An Injured Worker Involved In An Industrial Or Work-Related Accident In Massachusetts?
If you have been injured in Massachusetts at work, and are unable to earn your full wages for five or more days, or require medical treatment as a result of a work accident, you become eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
What are the benefits that the injured worker is entitled to receive?
- If you are disabled from work, you are entitled to receive 60 percent of the gross average weekly wage you earned prior to your injury. This would include overtime wages and bonuses. If you held more than one job on the date of the injury, you may be able to recover lost wages from that employer also. According to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation rules if your injury at work results in a total and permanent disability, you will be eligible to receive 66.67 percent of your gross average weekly wage, as well as a potential annual cost of living increase.
- If your injury at work results in a partial disability, and you are unable to earn your preaccident wages, you may be eligible to receive a weekly partial disability benefit. In this case, you would be entitled to receive 60% of the difference between the wages that you earned before and after your accident at work. You are eligible to receive a partial disability benefit even if you are required to find a different job with a new employer, if your present employer could not accommodate your physical limitations.
- If your injury from work requires you to obtain medical treatment, you have the right to choose a doctor of your choice. You do not have to receive treatment from a physician recommended by your employer or the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Insurer.
NOTE: Some Massachusetts employers have what is termed a ” preferred provider agreement.” If your employer has such an agreement, this simply requires you have your initial consultation with your employer’s preferred medical care provider. After this initial consultation, you are then free to receive treatment from the doctor of your choice. It should also be noted that you have the legal right to be reimbursed for all of your expenses related to your medical treatment. This includes mileage, parking and prescriptions associated with your medical treatment, therefore you will need a workers’ compensation lawyer to compile this information and file a request for payment.
- If your injury at work results in a permanent loss of function, or scarring or bodily disfigurement, you may be eligible for an additional monetary benefit for these losses. The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Bailey & Burke can help determine what is termed “an end medical result.”
- If your work injury was due to negligence or fault of someone other than yourself, a co-worker or your immediate employer, you may have an additional cause of action, or a ” third-party negligence” law case.
Examples include an automobile accident in the course of your employment, a construction site accident when the general contractor or a subcontractor is at fault, or a personal injury from a defective or dangerous product such as asbestos or machinery. In a third-party negligence case, a personal injury claim can be filed in the Massachusetts Court System against the negligent party and may entitle you to additional damages, including pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and payment for loss of companionship or society of your family.
- If your injury results in total disability for 12 consecutive months or more,( or is expected to), you may have the right to receive Social Security Disability benefits, in addition to the benefits you are receiving from the Workers’ Compensation Claim.
In Massachusetts, if an injury at work results in the death of an injured worker, benefits are payable to the surviving dependents. A surviving spouse is entitled to receive 250 weeks of the deceased employee’s workers’ compensation benefits, as well as annual cost of living increases. The surviving spouse may be entitled to continue to receive the above-mentioned benefits beyond 250 weeks if the surviving spouse has not remarried or is not fully self-supporting. The workers’ compensation insurer is also obligated to pay for burial expenses that do not exceed $4,000.00.
So if you have been injured at work in Massachusetts and believe you have a workers’ compensation claim, you need the experienced lawyers at Bailey & Burke to help navigate through the Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws.