Suffering a serious injury on the job in Massachusetts can be a very stressful situation. If your injuries leave you unable to return to work, you may be worried about how you are going to continue to provide for your family, pay your bills, and get the medical treatment you need. Fortunately, the vast majority of workers in Massachusetts are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation offers benefits that will cover the costs of treatment and provide weekly benefit checks while you are out of work.
Every worker’s compensation claim is different. Sometimes, an injured worker may not need to retain counsel. However, there are many claims where the injured worker should hire an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney. In this article, I will discuss some of the circumstances of work accidents where an injured worker should hire or, at a minimum, consult with a qualified accident lawyer.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Are All Different and Require Professional Evaluations
As stated above, even though an injured worker may be covered by workers’ compensation, it doesn’t necessarily mean the insurance companies will automatically offer the many benefits available when a worker is hurt on the job. Whether you need a lawyer after a work accident depends on the specific circumstances of your case. Below are some factors and situations to consider when making this decision.
The Severity of the Injury & Complexity of the Claim
If your work-related injury is minor, you may be able to handle the workers' compensation process in Massachusetts on your own. There are many work accidents where a worker is hurt and needs medical attention. These workers may have minor injuries, such as a minor back, neck, or shoulder strain. In these cases, the injured worker may require some treatment and need to stay out of work for a short period of time to recover from their injuries. Sometimes, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will cover the cost of the medical treatment and pay weekly disability checks until the worker is ready and able to return to work. In these types of situations, the injured worker may not need the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer.
If the injury is severe and requires extensive medical treatment or results in long-term disability, however, it may be advisable for the injured worker to consult with an experienced Massachusetts work accident attorney. In these more involved claims, the workers’ compensation insurance company may make it more difficult to get the recommended treatment needed or the full disability benefits the worker deserves. Sometimes, the insurance company may not pay the injured worker the amounts they deserve, dispute the cause of the injury, or claim that there are preexisting medical conditions. In these cases, the injured worker should definitely seek the help of an experienced work accident lawyer. It seems, sometimes, the more an insurance company may have to pay, the more difficult they make it for an injured worker to get the benefits they deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Was Denied or Ignored
After suffering an injury on the job, if your workers' compensation claim has been denied, or if you are not receiving the benefits you believe you are entitled to, you should consult and hire a lawyer who specializes in representing injured workers in Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims. There are also situations where the injured worker never hears from their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company, and it seems as though they are just ignoring the work accident and injury.
Whether your claim was denied, or you are just being ignored, a qualified work injury lawyer can evaluate your workers’ compensation case, determine the benefits you are eligible for, and take the necessary action by filing the appropriate claims with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents to get you the benefits you deserve. The lawyer will then litigate your workers’ compensation claim and advocate for your rights and benefits.
Determine Eligibility and Negotiating Lump Sum Settlements
Although not all workers’ compensation claims result in a settlement, many injured workers may be eligible for a lump sum settlement in Massachusetts. Determining whether an injured worker is entitled to a settlement and the appropriate amount of a lump sum settlement is not an easy task. An experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney can properly evaluate your case and assess the value of a lump sum settlement. A qualified lawyer can make sure that the injured worker gets a fair and reasonable settlement that is in his or her best interest.
In cases where an injured worker is handling their own workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company may offer a settlement. If you are offered a settlement, having an attorney can be beneficial. A qualified attorney will have the experience to negotiate on your behalf and ensure you receive a full and fair settlement amount.
Evaluating a Work Accident for Third-Party Liability
In some cases, a third party (someone other than your employer or co-worker) may be responsible for your work-related injury. If this is the case, you may have a third-party Massachusetts personal injury claim in addition to your workers' compensation claim, and an experienced Massachusetts accident attorney can help you navigate both processes.
A worker in Massachusetts is generally prohibited by law from suing their employer for injuries suffered in a workplace accident. However, the laws in Massachusetts allow a worker hurt on the job to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a third party (someone other than the employer), who was responsible for causing the workplace accident and the worker’s injuries. Under these circumstances, the injured worker can pursue and receive workers’ compensation benefits and pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the negligent third party. Our Framingham injury lawyers have handled these types of cases many times and have the experience needed to maximize the financial recovery injured workers deserve.
Where a worker is hurt on the job in an accident caused by negligent third-party, the amount of compensation recovered is typically much more than in each accident case separately. This is partly because a worker hurt by a third-party’s negligent actions can seek compensation for their pain and suffering, which is unavailable in a worker’ compensation claim alone. Also, in a third-party personal injury claim, the injured worker may recover the full amount of their lost wages. Whereas, in a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim, the injured worker receives a percentage of their average weekly wage in their weekly disability checks.
Additionally, in these types of cases, the workers’ compensation insurance company will have a statutory lien against any recovery in the third-party personal injury case. An experienced attorney will know how to handle the lien and negotiate a reduction in the amount you may be required to pay back to the workers’ compensation insurer from the recovery in the third-party case. This will ensure that the injured worker receives more financial compensation for themselves.
An Attorney Can Provide Peace of Mind to Injured Workers
If your work accident case is complicated or not, hiring an experienced attorney can provide injured workers and their families peace of mind. Our Framingham injury lawyers offer the legal services to handle and manage all of the legal and insurance aspects of your case. This will allow you to focus on your recovery and family without the added stress of dealing with insurance companies, complex legal standards, voluminous paperwork, deadlines, and the worry of not receiving the benefits you are entitled to.
We Offer Free Case Evaluations & Contingent Fee Agreements
Before making a decision, it's often a good idea to speak with an experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney. Our Framingham work accident attorneys offer free consultations and case evaluations. We will review the specifics of your case with you and provide guidance on whether retaining a lawyer is necessary. This can help you and your family make an informed decision about whether to hire a lawyer after a work accident and ensure you know what benefits are available from workers’ compensation in Massachusetts.
If you need to hire a lawyer, keep in mind that we offer contingent fee agreements with no retainer or deposit required. This fee arrangement offers injured workers the ability to retain an experienced accident lawyer to help them without having to put any money down. Our attorney fee is contingent upon being successful in your work accident case and getting you the Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. This means you only pay a legal fee if we are successful in your case. In some cases, if we are successful in your workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company may be required to pay the legal fee.