You work to make money and support your family. But if you are injured in a workplace accident, both your health and your bank account can suffer. In Massachusetts, workers’ compensation laws are in place to protect employees who are hurt on the job.
Massachusetts employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide medical benefits and partial wage replacement to employees after a job injury. Workers’ comp benefits are payable regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
Even with these laws, many dedicated Boston workers find it difficult to obtain workers’ compensation benefits despite having a legitimate job injury. If you’re struggling to apply for workers’ compensation or have already been denied, Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers can help.
Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are experienced, accomplished, and ready to fight the insurance company for every dollar you are owed. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
- 1 What Is Workers’ Compensation in Boston?
- 2 Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
- 3 Common Workers’ Comp Injuries
- 4 How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Boston
- 5 What Happens If Your Claim Is Denied
- 6 How Long Does It Take to Receive Benefits in Boston?
- 7 How Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers Can Help You Recover Benefits
What Is Workers’ Compensation in Boston?
Employers must carry workers’ comp insurance in Massachusetts. Nearly all employees are covered. When you’re hurt at work or develop an occupational illness, that insurance should cover your medical treatment.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Unlike a personal injury claim, you don’t have to prove that anyone else is to blame for your accident. Despite this no-fault provision, insurance companies are still businesses that work to maximize their own profits. How? By denying and diminishing valid claims brought by deserving workers.
If you were hurt during or as a result of your normal work, Boston workers’ compensation should apply. There are some injuries for which coverage wouldn’t apply, such as:
- If you were drunk or using drugs when the accident occurred
- If you were injured on your way to work
- If you were hurt at a voluntary, work-sponsored event like a company picnic or holiday party
In addition, minor injuries like blisters or bruises may not rise to the level required to initiate a workers’ comp claim. If you’re unsure of whether your work injury qualifies you for workers’ compensation in Boston, the attorneys at Kelly & Associates can evaluate your case for free. Call or contact us now.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There are several types of workers’ compensation benefits you can receive in Massachusetts. Boston workers’ compensation settlements can include the following:
- Medical benefits: Your employer’s insurance company should cover your medical care, including prescription reimbursement, hospital visits, ongoing care, and travel to and from your medical appointments. Your employer gets to choose your doctor when you first report the injury, but after the initial visit you can choose your own providers. Your employer has the right to send you to its doctor again for periodic check-ins as you recover.
- Temporary total incapacity: These benefits are available if you are unable to work for a short period of time, but are expected to recover. It can amount to 60 percent of your average weekly wage (AWW) for up to 156 weeks. Your compensation can start on the sixth day of your disability.
- Partial incapacity: If you’re hurt and can work, but lose some of your earning ability, you may be entitled to partial incapacity benefits. You can receive payment for up to 75 percent of what you would get if you were totally unable to work. It can last for 260 weeks.
- Permanent and total incapacity: If you will never be able to work again, workers’ compensation will pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to the state annually weekly wage (SAWW) maximum. The SAWW is annually adjusted for cost of living, and you can receive these benefits for as long as you are disabled.
- Permanent loss of function and disfigurement: You can receive a one-time payment for permanent loss of function of a body part or disfigurement caused by a job injury. Compensation for disfigurement is limited to scarring on your face, neck, or hands. The amount depends on the severity of your injury is and is added to all of the workers’ comp benefits you are able to receive.
- Vocational rehabilitation: Some job injuries may render a person unable to work in their chosen field, but still able to earn an income. In those cases, workers’ comp benefits may provide for paid training in a new trade.
Unfortunately, some workplace injuries and illnesses can result in death. If you lost your loved one because they were hurt at work, there are two types of benefits you and your family could receive:
- Survivors’ and dependents’ benefits. If your spouse or parent died because of a workplace injury, you can receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage for as long as you remain unmarried or dependent. Any child must be under 18, a full-time student, or unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities in order to receive the benefit. If the spouse remarries and their benefit ends, each child can receive $60 a week.
- Burial Expenses. The employer’s insurance should pay for up to $4,000 of your loved one’s burial expenses.
When you’re recovering from a job injury or illness, you shouldn’t be fighting with the insurance company to receive the workers’ compensation benefits you’re legally entitled to. Let Kelly & Associates take up the fight for you. We can handle all negotiations with the insurer so that you can focus on recovering.
Common Workers’ Comp Injuries
Workers’ comp injuries are as varied as the jobs Boston workers do. Whether you work with heavy equipment, wait tables, or sit at a desk all day, you are likely entitled to workers’ comp benefits if you get hurt.
Common workers’ comp injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Sprains, strains, and musculoskeletal injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries (e.g., herniated discs)
- Thermal and chemical burns
- Repetitive movement disorders (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety
- Occupational diseases (e.g., mesothelioma, asbestosis)
- Blindness and deafness
After you’re hurt, contact a qualified workers’ comp lawyer to understand how you might be covered and what financial compensation you might receive.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Boston
There are several steps that you must take to initiate a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts.
- Notify your employer: Tell your employer as soon as you notice that you’re injured. After that, they should immediately file a report with their insurance company to begin a workers’ comp claim. If you miss five days of work (not necessarily in a row), then your employer should fill out the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality (Form 101) to submit to their insurance company. The insurer has 14 days from the receipt of the form to start payments or to tell you that your claim has been denied.
- See a doctor: As soon as your employer knows that you’re hurt, get treatment from the doctor they recommend and save any documents you receive. You can choose your own provider after the first doctor’s visit.
Contact an experienced Boston workers’ compensation lawyer. It’s common for claims to be denied on the first try. Usually, that’s because the application for benefits is not completed properly or does not provide adequate proof of injury. A knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney can help prepare your documents properly to give you the best possible chance of approval.
What Happens If Your Claim Is Denied
You’re not out of luck just because your workers’ comp claim has been denied. But you should get in contact with a diligent workers’ compensation attorney to review your legal options. At Kelly & Associates, our lawyers can begin the dispute process on your behalf.
All workers’ compensation claims are handled by the Department of Industrial Accidents. This is an administrative law court.
The steps of the appeals process include:
- Conciliation: At this stage, you, your attorney (if you hire one), and a lawyer from the employer’s insurance company will meet with a conciliator. The purpose is to try and reach a settlement agreement. If no agreement can be reached, the case moves on to the Conference level.
- Conference: This meeting will be attended by you, your lawyer, and the insurer’s attorney. An administrative law judge will review the evidence and will issue an order. If the judge does not rule in your favor, you have 14 days to request an appeal.
- Hearing: This is the trial-like phase of the appeals process. During the hearing, witnesses may be called, new evidence may be introduced, and the judge can make other requests before reaching a decision.
- Reviewing Board: If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of the hearing, you can request that your case go to the Reviewing Board. Three administrative law judges will review the transcripts of previous proceedings and request additional information if needed. The judges may approve the hearing’s decision, send it back, or reverse the decision altogether.
- Massachusetts Court of Appeals: If all other avenues for a settlement are exhausted, your attorney will discuss your options of moving the case to the state’s appellate courts.
At Kelly & Associates, we will work to resolve your workers’ compensation claim both quickly and fairly. We’re on your team, not the insurance company’s.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Benefits in Boston?
In Massachusetts, your employer’s insurance company should pay you within a few weeks of your injury. You’ll start receiving disability benefits for the work you missed excluding the first five days, unless your injury lasts more than 21 days.
The insurance company has a 180-day “pay without prejudice” period. That means they’ll pay worker’s compensation benefits even though they haven’t decided what you’re owed. It’s important to understand that this does not mean that they will pay your benefits or are accepting liability for your workplace injury.
The upside of the pay without prejudice period is that you can start getting payment quickly. The downside is that the insurance company can stop or reduce that money with just a week’s notice to you.
After the 180-day period is up, the insurance company may ask to extend the period in which they can decide. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand why this request may not be beneficial for you. Depending on how they decide, you could receive less money in the long run. Don’t sign any forms without consulting a lawyer.
How Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers Can Help You Recover Benefits
It’s guaranteed that your employer’s insurance company has hired top-quality lawyers who will aggressively protect their client’s interests. You should have someone just like that on your side. Look no further than Kelly & Associates.
Once you hire us, you don’t have to argue with the insurance company or fill out more complicated forms. Our talented workers’ compensation attorneys will take over and negotiate forcefully on your behalf.
Our workers’ compensation team includes aggressive trial lawyers who are trained to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. You’ll work directly with one of our hardworking attorneys, not a junior paralegal or assistant.
It’s important to us that people get personalized service when they need it most. That’s what we’re committed to and that’s what you can expect from Kelly & Associates.
Our case reviews are free and come with no obligation. We also represent clients on a contingency fee basis. That means that we only get paid if we secure compensation for you.
Call 1-800-LAW-GUYS (1-800-529-4897) or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.