If you have suffered an injury on the job, you may be entitled to financial compensation under the system known as workers’ compensation, or “workers’ comp”. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, it is mandatory for most employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurance companies rarely pay full benefits without a fight. If you trust what your employer or its insurance company tells you about your claim for benefits, you may end up unknowingly accepting far less than you are rightfully owed. At Bottaro Law Firm, we make sure that injured workers win the compensation they deserve.
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Workers’ Compensation or Personal Injury?
With only limited exceptions, if you get injured at work, you will be required to file a claim for workers’ compensation. In most cases you cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer.
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system. This means that you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent in order to receive compensation. If you were injured on the job and your employer is subject to workers’ compensation, you are entitled to benefits for your losses.
With workers’ compensation, these benefits are limited to (i) reimbursement of your medical expenses, and (ii) a portion of your lost wages. The idea behind the system is to provide something to everyone without making workers’ compensation prohibitively expensive for their employers. But, remember, it is a no-fault system, so these are benefits you often would not be able to receive if workers’ compensation didn’t exist.
But, what if your workers’ compensation benefits don’t cover all of your losses? In many cases, work-related injuries result from dangerous products and negligence on the part of parties other than the injured worker’s employer. If this is the case for you, you may be entitled to both file a claim for workers’ compensation and pursue a personal injury claim to cover the rest of your losses.
Common Examples of On-the-Job Injuries
Many employees fail to claim workers’ compensation because they do not understand the full scope of what constitutes an “on-the-job” injury. You do not have to be sitting at your desk or operating a piece of machinery to suffer an injury covered by workers’ compensation. Examples of compensable injuries include:
- Overexertion from pulling, lifting, pushing, or carrying heavy objects
- Repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome
- Injuries suffered in vehicle collisions while driving for work
- Slips and falls in stairways and hallways, or on a job site
- Injuries from assaults and altercations with other employees
Steps to Take if You Have Been Injured while Working
If you have been injured on the job, there are steps you need to take in order to protect your right to workers’ compensation. We can help you make sure that you do everything necessary to preserve your claim. After suffering a work-related injury you should:
- Report the accident to your employer
- If you are able, take pictures with your phone
- See an approved doctor (if you see your own doctor, you may forfeit your claim)
- Follow your doctor’s advice on returning to work
- Speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible
Help for MA & RI Workers’ Compensation Denials
If you filed for workers’ compensation on your own and your employer denied your claim, it is not too late to obtain the benefits you deserve. In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, there is a special workers’ compensation appeal process that injured workers can use to challenge their workers’ compensation denials. These appeals can be challenging and you only have a limited amount of time to file, so you will want an experienced legal team on your side. Contact us today to fight your workers’ compensation denial.
We also provide representation for individuals who have been wrongfully denied wages and unemployment benefits. Learn more.
Reasons to Choose Bottaro Law for your Workers’ Compensation Case
- Millions recovered for our clients
- Top rated attorneys
- Quick & Courteous service
Get Help for Your MA or RI Workers Compensation Claim Now
While your employer or union may suggest a workers’ compensation lawyer for you, you have the right to a lawyer of your choice. In addition, you may have additional claims outside of the workers’ compensation system. If you choose a lawyer whose sole focus is workers’ compensation, you may miss out on opportunities to maximize the compensation for your losses. At Bottaro Law Firm, we provide full-service representation for individuals who have suffered injuries at work.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation about your case, call (866) 529-9700 or contact us online today.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
I suffered an injury, and it happened while I was a work. Can I receive workers’ compensation benefits, and if so, when?
In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, most employers are mandated by law to provide their employees with workers’ compensation (“workers’ comp”) benefits. A person is eligible for these types of benefits if: 1) he or she is an employee, and 2) he or she suffered a work-related injury.
Workers’ comp injuries include those resulting from sudden accidents (such as a fall or explosion) as well as those resulting from repetitive motions performed over time while working (such as carpal tunnel syndrome). Workers’ comp injuries can also include those resulting from exposure to toxins or chemicals while at work.
An injured employee may begin receiving workers’ comp benefits after the injury is reported to the employer and after the employer submits the necessary paperwork to its workers’ comp insurance company. Thereafter, the insurance company has 14 days to either begin paying lost wage benefits or provide written notice of denial of the claim, listing specific reasons for the denial.
If you are denied workers’ comp benefits, it is important that you contact a knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney who is experienced in handling appeals of these denials as soon as possible so that further action can be taken if appropriate. Once an insurance company denies a workers’ comp claim, very tight and specific deadlines must be adhered to in order to preserve your legal rights.
What types of benefits can I receive?
Because the workers’ comp system is considered “no fault,” certain benefits are provided to employees who suffer work-related injuries regardless of who is at fault. These benefits generally are limited to the following types:
- Reimbursement for the employee’s medical expenses, and
- A percentage of the employee’s lost wages.
How are my lost wages calculated and how do I know if I am receiving what I deserve?
The amount and duration of lost wages that an injured employee will receive depend upon a variety of factors, including whether the employee suffered a total or partial disability and whether the disability is temporary or permanent.
However, whatever type of disability is suffered, lost wages are calculated by first considering an employee’s average weekly wage for the 52-week period prior to the work-related injury. The average weekly wage encompasses an employee’s total gross earnings, before taxes and benefits.
Temporary total disability: When an employee suffers a temporary total disability as a result of a work-related injury, the workers’ comp insurance company must pay weekly benefits at a rate of 60 percent of the injured employee’s average weekly wage.
Temporary partial disability: If an injured employee suffers a temporary partial disability, he or she may receive up to 60 percent of the difference between what was earned before the accident and what was earned after the accident.
Both temporary partial and total disability benefits are paid for a limited period of time.
Permanent total or partial disability: If an injured employee’s disability is deemed permanent (whether total or partial), then he or she may receive weekly benefits equal to two-thirds of his or her average weekly wages until death.
As you can see, this is a detailed and complex framework for determining the amount of lost wages to which you are entitled. It may be completely overwhelming, especially when you are trying to heal from an injury. The legal team at the Bottaro Law Firm will not only help you determine your average weekly wage and what weekly benefits you should receive from the workers’ comp insurance company, but will deal directly with the insurance company and handle the necessary filings.
What is a lump sum settlement, and how do I know if I should accept it?
An injured employee may be able to settle a workers’ compensation claim for what is called a lump sum payment. This option appeals to many injured workers because it ends his or her tumultuous relationship with the workers’ comp insurance company, particularly if the insurance company disputes the extent of its obligations.
The attorneys at the Bottaro Law Firm will help you fully evaluate your case and provide guidance as to the fairness of an offer for a lump sum settlement if you are presented with one. You should never feel pressured or coerced into settling your workers’ comp case, and you should not accept compensation that is less than you deserve.
Moreover, if you settle your workers’ comp claim for a lump sum, the insurance company may still be obligated to pay your continuing medical expenses. However, since each settlement agreement has unique terms and provisions, it is very important that you consult with a reputable, experienced workers’ comp attorney before you settle your case – especially if you have ongoing medical issues.
The attorneys at the Bottaro Law Firm have significant experience negotiating with insurance companies and representing injured employees before the administrative boards that hear and decide disputes in workers’ comp matters.