Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Every year, countless workers are injured on the job throughout Boston. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, these employees can suffer debilitating injuries, become sick, and even die because of workplace hazards. In addition, when these accidents occur, it can lead to life-changing repercussions that can include extensive medical expenses and a significant loss of income that can affect not only the worker but also their family.
That is why if you suffered a work-related injury or became sick while working in Boston, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which often translates to money for your lost wages and skyrocketing medical expenses. Unfortunately, obtaining these benefits is not always easy, and there are often numerous hurdles that can stop you from getting the compensation you need.
Fortunately, you do not have to go through this challenging ordeal by yourself. If the insurance company decides to play games with the money you are entitled to, the Boston legal team at Jacoby & Meyers LLP is here for you, ready to fight for the workers’ compensation benefits you need and protect your rights.
Jacoby & Meyers LLP—Who We Are
Jacoby & Meyers LLP was founded in 1972 to provide top-quality legal representation to all those that needed it and not just the select few. Today, our firm continues to provide clients with the legal representation they require, the personal services they deserve and strives to keep all communications straightforward so that clients can fully comprehend everything they need to know about their case. Best of all, when you work with our firm, you will have your own dedicated legal team, led by skilled attorneys making sure the unique needs of your case are met.
As a result of this dedication, drive, and skill, our law firm has obtained millions of dollars on our clients’ behalf through jury verdicts and settlement negotiations.
What Exactly Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Boston?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement benefits and medical benefits to those employees who have been harmed in the course of their employment. However, in exchange for these benefits, the employee agrees to relinquish their rights to sue their employer for the losses and damages they sustained.
In Massachusetts, the Workers’ Compensation Act covers medical care for all work-related illnesses or injuries of their employees, as well as partial wage replacement when an employee needs time off to recover from their injuries. In some instances, vocational rehabilitation for workers who qualify may also be provided.
Common Accidents That Can Lead to a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Although there many accidents can lead to a workers’ compensation claim, in Boston, the more common accidents that tend to result in these cases include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Elevator accidents
- Illnesses due to the stress of the job
- Burn accidents
- Lifting accidents
- Workplace violence
- Construction accidents, especially around the southernmost section of Hyde Park to the northside of East Boston, where residential construction is booming
- Crane accidents
- Scaffolding falls
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Heavy machinery accidents
Injuries That Can Qualify a Worker To File a Workers Compensation Claim
In Boston, when it comes to workers’ compensation claims, the term “injury” is broadly defined. As a result, those who have been harmed on the job will be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if they have a:
- Long-term repetitive stress injury that was caused by work-related degradation, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Physical harm caused by an accident at work, including broken bones, head injuries, and deep lacerations
- Work-related psychological injury
- Injury or illness that develops off-site but can qualify as a covered work injury
However, to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for these injuries, you will need supporting medical evidence that proves the existence of these damages and the severity of these injuries. You will also need to show that your injury occurred because of what happened at work.
Although these procedures may sound relatively simple, it still requires you to obtain detailed evidence and sound legal arguments. That is why, following your work-related accident, it is important to seek immediate legal assistance, especially if disputes arise regarding what happened. Skilled Boston workers’ compensation lawyers can investigate your accident, determine what happened, and figure out whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim.
Who Qualifies For Workers’ Compensation in Boston?
If an employee is injured in Boston while working, they will most likely qualify for workers’ compensation. However, in terms of independent contractors, these individuals will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Yet, it is important to note that workers are often incorrectly classified as an independent contractor when they are, in fact, an employee. For these reasons, if you have been injured in a work accident and are denied workers’ compensation benefits because your employer is claiming you are an independent contractor, you need to reach out to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Boston, such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP. These lawyers can review your incident, figure out if you are an employee or an independent contractor, and determine whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
What to Know About Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Boston
Before you can pursue a workers’ compensation claim in Boston, you will need to show you have been disabled for five full or partial calendar days. These days do not need to be consecutive. However, if you are disabled for less than five full or partial calendar days, you can only pursue a “medical-only” claim.
Although the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) oversees the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts, medical-only claims are reported to your employers’ workers compensation insurance company, not the DIA. Yet, if the insurance company denies your claim, even the medical-only benefits, you can proceed with an appeal to the DIA.
Are Employers Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation in Boston?
In Massachusetts, all employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance not only provides coverage to its employees, but it can also help the employer avoid a personal injury lawsuit against them. This is because if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you can often proceed with a legal suit against the company and seek additional damages for their willful misconduct if you were harmed in an accident at work. Yet, as a general rule, if a company has workers’ compensation, you usually cannot sue them for your injuries.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Boston
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the amount of time an individual has to pursue a claim following an alleged offense. If the individual does not file their suit or claim within this allotted time, they can be barred from collecting compensation for their injuries and losses.
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations to file a workers’ compensation claim is four years from the date of the injury or the realization that the injury or illness is work-related. That is why it is best not to wait to get the legal help you need following your Boston work-related accident.
Instead, you need to reach out to skilled Boston workers’ compensation attorneys like Jacoby & Meyers LLP, and have these lawyers determine exactly how much time you have to file your workers’ compensation claim and ensure that all of your legal documents are prepared correctly and filed before time runs out.
Actions You Should Take After You Have Been Hurt on the Job in Boston
If you suffered an injury while working in Boston, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Yet, before you can collect these benefits, you first need to take specific steps following the incident to ensure that your rights are protected, and you can go after the money you deserve. Generally, these steps include the following:
Get to Your Medical Care Professional as Quickly as Possible
If severe injuries follow your work accident, immediately head to the emergency room or contact 911. This is the fastest way to get your accident on record and notify medical personnel that you need medical help.
However, even if your injuries do not seem that serious, you should still get to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. This is because many injuries such as severe head and brain trauma can take days to weeks to show up. Yet, the longer you wait to get medical help, the more deadly these injuries can become. That is why it is so important to get to a doctor and get checked for these severe injuries.
In addition, this prompt medical treatment can be necessary to your legal claim, as it can ensure that your injuries are properly documented. In a workers’ compensation claim, you will generally need to show that your injuries are work-related.
Thankfully, your comprehensive medical records can satisfy this requirement. Even though you can choose your own doctor to check you over following an accident and treat you for the harm you endured, the workers’ compensation insurance company may still have you see one of their doctors for an evaluation.
Go Over the Accident With Your Employer
According to the state’s laws, you also need to notify your employer promptly of the accident. If you do not report these injuries after the incident, you can put your benefits at risk. As a result, even if you do not believe your work-related accident was serious, you should still go ahead and report it to your supervisor. Many times, even minor injuries can develop into more severe health problems.
Document Everything That Happened
You want to document everything that occurred during and after your accident, including pictures, videos, and even statements of the accident. This means that after the accident, if it is possible and safe to do so, you will want to take photos of the incident, your visible injuries, and the dangerous conditions or vehicles that caused your harm. In addition, when you report the accident to your employer, you will want to keep a copy of the notification.
Get Witness Details
If there were people at the accident scene who saw what happened, make sure you get their name and number as well. Witness statements can provide you with valuable details regarding the incident and also help back up your claim.
Make Sure You Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plans
For you to continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you should follow your physician’s medical treatment plans. If you are not satisfied with the services and care you’re receiving, you may be able to get a second opinion. However, before you do anything, you need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer regarding any changes you want to make to ensure they are allowed and done correctly.
Know Your Rights When It Comes to Workers Compensation
In Boston, it is against the law for your employer to fire you or discriminate against you because you got hurt while you were at work or filed a workers’ compensation claim. If an employer retaliates against you in these situations, you can pursue a claim with Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, but the burden will be on you to show that your employer fired you for filing this workers’ compensation claim.
Protect Your Rights
To verify that your rights are protected and that you can pursue the workers’ compensation you need, it would be helpful if you reach out to our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys as quickly as possible. We can help you get through this complicated ordeal, file your documents on time and get you the legal assistance you require.
Boston Workers’ Compensation FAQs
In theory, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is supposed to make it easier for employees to receive the benefits they need after suffering an illness or injury while working. But, sadly, this is not always how this process works, and workers are constantly getting their benefits denied.
For these reasons, our legal team at Jacoby & Meyers LLP has prepared responses to some of the frequently asked questions our clients often have regarding workers’ compensation claims. We hope with these answers, you have a better understanding of the legal remedies you can pursue following a work-related injury or illness and how a skilled worker’s compensation lawyer can help you fight for the money and justice you are entitled to.
1. What Do I Need To Do To Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Boston?
After you report the incident to your employer and get looked over by your doctor, your employer will report the incident to their insurance company and the Department of Industrial Accidents. From there, the insurer will have 14 days to investigate the incident and determine if they have to pay you benefits. Once they make a decision, the insurance company will notify you, the Department of Industrial Accidents, and your employer of their decision.
In addition, an insurer has a 180-day pay-without-prejudice period. This period means that the insurance company can pay workers’ compensation to the injured employee for the first 180 days after their injury without making a final decision on their claim. Once they decide, they can approve the benefits within this deadline, deny the benefits, or reduce them.
2. If My Loved One Died in a Boston Work-Related Accident, Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation?
If a worker dies on the job or is killed because of problems from a workplace incident, their surviving family members can be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. This can include two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly income up to a specific cap, compensation for burial expenses, and cost-of-living adjustments.
To determine what compensation you may be entitled to following your loved one’s passing, you should reach out to an experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorney, such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP. These lawyers can look into the accident, determine whether you have a viable workers’ compensation claim, and go after the money you are entitled to.
3. What Happens if My Boston Workers’ Compensation Claim Gets Denied?
If the insurance company rejects your workers’ compensation claim or tries to modify the amount you are entitled to, you can appeal their decision to the Department of Industrial Accidents. However, to prove your argument, you will need to include detailed and relevant medical evidence such as medical reports and other information that supports your position.
Once you file your appeal, you will be scheduled for conciliation, which is an informal meeting at the Department of Industrial Accidents between you, the Department of Industrial Accidents conciliator, and the insurer. If no agreement can be reached between the parties, the case will be assigned to a conference with an administrative judge.
During this conference, you will need to prove that your injury was not only work-related but that it caused you to become disabled, and as a result, you need specific medical treatment because of the disability. Once a judge hears your arguments, they will make a final decision on your case. If you disagree with the decision, you can file an appeal.
As you can see, dealing with a denied workers’ compensation claim can be challenging and tedious. That is why if your claim has been rejected, you should reach out to a skilled Boston workers’ compensation attorney like those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP as soon as possible. These lawyers can handle this whole appeal process for you, prepare the strongest arguments in response to your denied claim, and make sure to fight for the money you need.
4. What Are My Legal Options if a Third- Party Causes My Boston Work Injury?
Generally, the workers’ compensation regulations in Massachusetts prohibit injured individuals from suing their employers. However, this immunity only extends to the employer, not to other third parties that caused their injury.
For example, if an employee is harmed because of a defective piece of equipment, the worker, in this case, can file a third-party claim for the compensation they need based on product liability. However, these third-party liability cases are still subject to the Department of Industrial Accidents or court approval.
That is why to ensure you can get the money you need, it is recommended that you pursue these claims with help from a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP. These attorneys can review your accident, figure out what happened, who was at fault and go after all the liable parties through the appropriate legal channels.
5. What Are The Primary Benefits I Can Receive From the Workers’ Compensation System in Boston?
If you qualify for workers’ compensation, the state’s laws indicate that you can receive benefits for temporary total disability, total and permanent disability, partial disability, disfigurement, permanent loss of function, medical benefits, death benefits, and possible vocational retraining benefits.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits. These benefits are intended for those that have been injured or got sick from a work-related incident and cannot work for six or more full or partial calendar days. As a result of their disability, these individuals can receive 60 percent of their gross average weekly wage of the 52 weeks before the date they got injured. However, the maximum they can receive per week is the state’s average weekly wage at the time of their injury.
Typically, injured workers can receive these benefits for 156 weeks, with compensation starting on the sixth day of the disability. Yet, they cannot be paid for the first five days unless they cannot work for 21 calendar days or more. These days do not have to be consecutive.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits. Following your work-related accident or illness, if you can work but earn less money because of your injury or illness, you may be qualified for temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits also include any injury that forces you to take a less-paying job or one with fewer hours.
As a result of this temporary partial disability, you can receive a maximum weekly benefit of 75 percent of your weekly total temporary benefits, and you can receive these benefits for up to 260 weeks.
Permanent and Total Disability Benefits. If you are permanently unable to do any kind of work resulting from your work-related illness or injury, you may be entitled to permanent and total disability benefits. Better yet, you will also not have to exhaust your temporary benefits before applying for these permanent benefits.
These benefits often include 66 percent of your gross average weekly wage, but there are minimum and maximum amounts you can collect. In addition, you can also get an annual cost-of-living adjustment payment. Typically, you will be able to receive these benefits for as long as you are disabled.
Medical Benefits. These benefits are for those who suffer a work-related illness or injury that requires medical attention. Typically, these benefits include prescription reimbursement, adequate and reasonable medical care, and mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical visits.
In Massachusetts, for your first doctor or hospital visit, your employer has the right to send you to a medical care provider of their choice. However, after being seen by your employer’s health care provider, you have a right to choose your own provider, but the insurance company can still periodically send you to see one of their doctors for an evaluation.
These benefits can last as long as medical services are required due to your illness or injury but can be stopped or denied by the insurance company if they do not believe the treatments are necessary or reasonable. However, if they are stopped or refused, you will be able to appeal this decision with the Department of Industrial Accidents.
Disfigurement, Scarring, and Permanent Loss of Function Benefits. If a work-related illness or injury results in a permanent loss of bodily functions, disfigurement, or scarring, you may qualify for these specific benefits. However, the scarring must be located on your neck, hands, or face. Once you are eligible, you can receive a one-time payment for your scarring and disfigurement, in addition to other payments like lost wages and medical bills. Yet, the amount you get will depend on the location of the scarring and the disfigurement or the loss of function.
Death Benefits. If you are a family member of an individual who died due to a work-related illness or injury, you may be entitled to death benefits. However, you will only qualify if you are the deceased’s spouse or child. In addition, the deceased’s children will only be eligible if they are under the age of 18, unable to work because of mental or physical disabilities, or are full-time students.
Generally, these death benefits include the following:
- The surviving spouse can receive weekly benefits equal up to 66 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wage, up to the maximum of the state average weekly wage at the time of the deceased’s illness or injury. They also become eligible for the annual cost-of-living adjustment two years after the deceased’s illness or injury date.
- If the spouse remarries, then $60 a week is paid to each eligible child. Yet, the total weekly amount paid to the dependent children cannot be greater than the amount the spouse had received.
- The family can get burial costs up to eight times the state average weekly wage in place at the time of the death.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits. Any injured worker can apply for vocational rehabilitation to be able to return to meaningful employment. However, to be eligible for this benefit, these workers need to be medically stable, have liability accepted by the workers’ compensation insurance company, and have a permanent functional limitation.
At any point during the claim, the worker can request a meeting with the Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (OEVR). If they lump-sum their claim, they will have two years from the approval date of their lump sum to request vocational services.
6. Why Do I Need to Contact the Law Offices of Jacoby & Meyers LLP Following My Boston Work-Related Accident or Injury?
Workers’ compensation claims are often denied for no reason, leaving injured workers confused, stressed, and anxious about what they should do next. Fortunately, with an experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorney on your side, such as those from Jacoby & Meyers LLP, you will not have to go through this challenging ordeal on your own.
Once retained, these lawyers can help you in your pursuit of the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve:
- Making sure you understand the process of obtaining these workers’ compensation benefits from start to finish
- Handling all the documents and paperwork needed to file a workers’ compensation claim
- Investigating your Boston work-related incident and gathering the evidence required to prove that you can no longer work because of your disability
- Handling all the conversations and negotiations with the insurance companies who want to deny your claim or pay you less money than you are entitled to
- Tackling situations where your employer decided to retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim
If you were harmed or got sick while working in Boston, do not wait to seek the legal help you need. Instead, reach out to the Boston worker’s compensation attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers LLP today at (877) 472-3061 for a free case evaluation, and let our skilled workers’ compensation lawyers show you how we can help you fight for the money you deserve.
Finkelstein & Partners, LLP
15 Court Square
Boston, MA 02108
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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