Being injured on the job in Massachusetts is an extremely stressful and frustrating experience. Accidents at work can result in very serious injuries and missing significant time from work. Missing time from work means losing pay and income. Serious injuries result in very expensive medical bills. Aside from the pain and disabling injuries, expensive medical treatment coupled with being unable to work and earn wages for you and your family only adds more stress to the situation.
The frustration is only compounded when your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company refuses to pay you the benefits you deserve for your work-related injuries. In Massachusetts the vast majority of employers have workers’ compensation insurance, but that does not guarantee they will extend the available benefits to you when you are hurt at work. That’s where we come in.
This article will explain the process of contacting Mahaney & Pappas, LLP about your work-related accident case and the hiring process.
Why You Need An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
As stated above, injuries at work create a very stressful situation. In addition to missing time at work, losing wages and incurring expensive medical bills, you will be dealing with the workers’ compensation insurance company. Workers’ compensation laws in Massachusetts and the process of a claim can be legally complex. For these reasons, you should seek an attorney to represent you who is experience in handling workers’ compensation claims and has a track record of success.
There are many lawyers who handle personal injury cases. However, workers’ compensation is a specific area of personal injury that requires a complete understanding of the workers’ compensation laws and the claims’ process within the Department of Industrial Accidents. Hiring the right lawyer for your work accident case is essential to making sure you get the benefits you deserve and the best possible outcome in your case.
The Process When You Contact Mahaney & Pappas, LLP
We have a multi-step process that is involved when you contact, meet, and hire us represent you in your workers’ compensation claim. Below is an overview of the various steps in this process.
The Initial Contact
When you contact Mahaney & Pappas, LLP about your work accident, a member of our legal team will perform a brief intake over the phone. We will obtain a summary of how your accident happened on the job and the injuries you suffered. Additionally, we will need to obtain information about your employer and the amount of wages you were earning at the time of your accident.
The next step is to schedule a time to meet in person to discuss your accident and injuries in more detail. One thing we offer is to make arrangements to come to your home or a mutually agreeable location if you are unable to make it out to our Framingham office. We also offer hospital visits for those people who are severely injured and remain hospitalized due to the injuries suffered.
The First Meeting
Our first meeting is always free. At this first meeting our lawyer(s) will obtain additional details about your accident and injuries. This includes obtaining more specifics about how the accident happened, any witnesses or evidence available, the injuries you suffered, your educational and employment background, as well as any prior accidents or injuries you may have suffered. These details will allow us to better evaluate your workers’ compensation claim and determine what benefits may be available.
After obtaining specific details and have a better understanding about how the accident happened and the extent of your injuries, we will explain the workers’ compensation claim process in Massachusetts. Additionally, we will explain all of the workers’ compensation benefits available to injured workers in Massachusetts. For example, injured workers who are unable to work because of the injures they suffered on the job are entitled to specific disability benefits. These benefits replace a portion of the wages you are losing because of your injuries. Also, there are medical benefits available from the insurance policy to cover the costs of all related, reasonable and medically necessary treatment.
At this meeting, we will also answer any of your questions and make sure you have a full and complete understanding of workers’ compensation claims. In our experience, the results of a workers’ compensation claim are significantly better when injured workers are educated and understand the claim process.
Hiring Us for Your Work Accident
At our first meeting, if you are satisfied and choose to hire Mahaney & Pappas, LLP to represent you in your workers’ compensation claim, there are a few documents that need to be signed.
The first is a Contingent Fee Agreement. We will review the Contingent Fee Agreement together in detail and explain how an injured worker in Massachusetts pays a workers’ compensation attorney. In short, a contingent fee agreement means that any legal fee we earn is contingent upon getting you the benefits you deserve. In general, an attorney hired on a contingent fee basis does not get paid until the case has been decided and the employee is successful in getting the benefits he or she deserves. How much and who pays the attorney fees depends on what stage of the workers’ compensation process the claim reaches. The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (M.G.L. c. 152) sets a predetermined fee for each level or stage of the workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, the percentage a workers’ compensation attorney earns when a case is settled by way of a lump sum will also be discussed. For a more detailed discussion of how you would pay a workers’ compensation attorney please see: How Does An Injured Worker Pay for A Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Massachusetts?
In addition to the contingent fee agreement, another document that will need to be signed is a medical authorization. In Massachusetts and under federal laws, third parties are prohibited from obtaining hospital or doctors’ medical records or any information regarding medical care without a written and signed authorization. The signed medical authorization will allow your doctors, physical therapists and any other medical provider to provide your medical records and medical bills to our office. Obtaining your medical records and treatment information is necessary to fully evaluate your injuries and determine the extent of your disability.
We will also need you to sign an authorization allowing us to obtain your employment records from your employer. Your employment records will allow us to determine the amount of your weekly workers’ compensation disability benefits. Specifically, we will need to determine what your average weekly wage was at the time of your work accident. Obtaining your employment records will allow us to calculate your average weekly wage and determine your disability rate.
After all of these documents are signed, we will begin taking action on your case.
Action Taken in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
What action we initially take on your workers’ compensation claim depends on the status of your claim. If you are receiving disability benefits and your medical bills are being paid by workers’ compensation, we may not need to take immediate legal action. In that case, we would need to review your average weekly wage to make sure you are receiving the correct amount of disability benefits.
However, in the situation where an injured worker is not being paid the benefits he or she deserves, legal action must be taken right away. This would require filing an Employee’s Claim for Benefits. We would determine what benefits we feel you are entitled to and obtain and prepare the necessary documentation to file with the Department of Industrial Accidents.
Regardless of the status of your claim, we would begin conducting a thorough investigation into your work accident. This includes working closely with you and obtaining photographs, evidence and witnesses to the accident.
As you can see, there are many aspects of a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts that must be thoroughly discussed and evaluated. While this is only a summary of the hiring process for a workers’ compensation attorney for your case, many other specific matters will be discussed at our meeting. Do yourself a favor after being injured at work and contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to protect yourself and make sure you are receiving the benefits you deserve.