Do You Have Questions About Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation?
At Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, we understand the impact a serious workplace injury can have on the life of an employee. Not only are you dealing with physical pain and disability, but you also may be in need of economic support to pay medical bills and compensate for lost wages. Under Massachusetts law, employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to provide assistance to employees who were injured on the job. When you cannot work because of a work injury, it is important to know what benefits you are entitled to receive and how to ensure you get those benefits.
How do I know if my injury is work-related?
The majority of work-related injuries are easy to identify since there is a specific event that occurs while you are performing the duties of your occupation, such as a fall. Some injuries, however, develop over time, including “repetitive use” injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or “exposure” injuries caused by long-term exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos. An important thing to remember is that as long as the injury occurred in the course and scope of your employment, it will generally be covered by workers’ compensation.
Determining whether an injury is work-related is based on a case-by-case analysis, and the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, look at each case individually to help determine whether our client’s injury is compensable.
What should I do if I am injured at work?
Every injury that occurs at work, no matter how minor, should be reported to your employer immediately. Most employers have a system for processing reports of work injuries to document how and when the injury occurred. If your workplace does not have such a system, you should still report your injury and make sure that your employer creates a written report of the injury and provides you with a copy of the report.
If necessary, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Your employer may have a medical office on-site, or you may seek treatment at any medical facility. You should inform the medical provider that the injury occurred at work. Generally, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will cover medical expenses as long as the injuries are related to the work.
Issues can arise during the initial reporting and treatment stage that can affect the course of your entire claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and the attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, are experienced in recognizing and addressing these issues right from the beginning.
What benefits are available to me if I cannot go back to work?
In Massachusetts, if you are unable to work as a result of a work injury, you will generally be entitled to weekly disability benefits in the amount of 60 percent of your average weekly income during your period of incapacity. If you are able to return to work in some capacity that is less than what you were working prior to the injury, you may be entitled to partial disability benefits based on your post-injury earnings capacity.
In addition to temporary disability benefits for the time you are unable to work as a result of your work injury, if you have suffered a permanent injury, you may be entitled to compensation for permanent disfigurement or scars, or permanent loss of function. You may also be entitled to vocational retraining if your injury prevents you from returning to your original job. In the event a family member is killed on the job, their family is entitled to death benefits.
If you are injured at work, you are also entitled to payment of (or reimbursement for) medical treatment that is “reasonable, necessary and related to” the work injury, including reimbursement for any travel that you undertake to secure medical treatment. This includes travel to the doctor’s office, physical therapist, hospital and independent medical examination.
Getting the benefits you are entitled to can sometimes be difficult when dealing with the workers’ compensation insurance companies. Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP‘s experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help you obtain the benefits you should be getting.
What happens after I report my work injury?
The law requires that your employer files a document called a “First Report of Injury” with its workers’ compensation insurer and the Department of Industrial Accidents. The workers’ compensation insurer then has a certain amount of time to either approve or deny your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is denied, you have a right to file a claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents.
Once your workers’ compensation claim has been filed, your case will proceed to the Department of Industrial Accidents. Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP‘s attorneys are knowledgeable in the complex procedures and processes of the Department of Industrial Accidents and can help you navigate your way to obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.
What if my work injury was caused by a third party’s negligence?
If you are injured at work in Massachusetts, you cannot sue your employer (or a coworker) for negligence. However, if your injury was caused by the negligence of someone who was not employed by your company, you retain all of your rights to recover damages over and above the benefits payable under workers’ compensation. If you recover damages from the negligent “third party,” you are required to reimburse the workers’ compensation insurer the amount it paid you in the form of workers’ compensation benefits.
Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP‘s workers’ compensation attorneys are experienced in evaluating and pursuing negligence claims against a third party to maximize a recovery.
Contact An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
Dealing with the insurance company and navigating the claim process at the Department of Industrial Accidents are often difficult and confusing. The attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, work diligently to help every client obtain the maximum benefit that he or she deserves and is entitled to receive.
Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are available to discuss your workers’ compensation claim at any stage of the process. Contact our law firm online or please call us at 413-663-3200, to schedule a consultation with a lawyer. We have conveniently located offices and other meeting locations throughout Western Massachusetts and regularly travel throughout the region to meet with clients.
All cases are handled on a contingent-fee basis — you will not have to pay any attorneys’ fees unless we win compensation in your case.
Note: This is an introductory overview of Massachusetts law and procedure regarding workers’ compensation. It is not intended to be used as specific legal advice for any individual and is no substitute for experience and expert advice from a qualified Massachusetts attorney who can evaluate your individual case.