There are thousands of Americans every year who experience a serious injury, or even die, due to accidents that occur in their workplace. These injuries differ from those that happen outside of the workplace because of the type of claim that can be made. When a worker is injured while doing their job, they are unable to make the usual negligence claim (tort action). Instead, they must use the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation System. This is the only remedy available to injured workers.
Attorney Joseph M. Burke brings nearly twenty-five years of experience in the representation of injured workers and their families concentrating his practice in Workers’ Compensation, including construction site and workplace accidents; motor vehicle negligence; product liability; and defective premises.
Recent Workers’ Comp Settlements & Verdicts
$1.2 million — Workers’ Compensation
$750,000 — Construction Site Injury
$600,000 — Motor Vehicle Accident
$500,000 — Workers’ Compensation
$475,000 — Products Liability
$400,000 — Motor Vehicle Accident/Products Liability
$375,000 — Workers’ Compensation
$360,000 — Workers’ Compensation Third Party Action
$335,000 — Workers’ Compensation
$290,000 — Workers’ Compensation
$267,000 — Slip and Fall
$250,000 — Workers’ Compensation
$245,000 — Motor Vehicle Accident
$195,000 — Car Accident
Created by the state legislature, the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation System provides from rights that are very different from the usual rights injured people have under the tort system. This is because injured workers are usually unable to file civil actions against their employer or a fellow employee, regardless of the responsibility that person may have had for their injuries. Therefore, instead of this, the system allows the injured worker to file for workers’ compensation benefits that are made available through workers’ compensation insurance held by the employer for this purpose. Employers in Massachusetts are required by the law to have this type of insurance coverage in order to protect their employees in case of accidents and injuries that may occur. If an employer fails to maintain this type of insurance coverage they can be subject to legal penalties, which include but are not limited to fines and criminal action.
Injuries Covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Act
Although parts of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act can get very technical, there is a general theme to these types of claims. In most cases, the worker who was injured has the right to have the medical bills related to the accident paid for in full by the employer’s workers compensation insurance. These claims differ from tort actions because the injured party does not need to prove which party is at fault for the accident which caused the injury, but rather must only show that said injuries have a direct relationship to their employment. For instance, lets say an employee suffered serious injuries from a car accident that occurred during his or her commute to the workplace. This person would, in all likeliness, not receive workers compensation. This is because the injury occurred outside of the scope of the worker’s employment. On the other hand, lets say that this same injury occurred as this person was leaving his or her home to drive and attend a business meeting. In this scenario, the injuries could be covered by workers’ compensation, regardless of whether the employee was at fault in the accident. A third, clear example, would be when an injury occurs during the course of ordinary work requirements. For example, let’s say a mover who has been hired to deliver furniture experiences a horrible injury to his or her back during the course of lifting a heavy couch onto the truck. This worker would have his or her medical bills taken care of by worker’s compensation.
In addition to having medical bills paid in full, an injured worker would also be entitled to receive a portion of his average weekly wages paid by the designated workers’ compensation insurance provider. The amount the injured worker would be entitled to receive in lost wages is not the same as the amount the injured person typically earns on a weekly or monthly basis. Wage reimbursement under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is paid at a rate determined by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, and is typically lower than the amount the injured party received directly from his employer. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you as to the amount available to you in lost earnings capacity, based on the current Massachusetts “State Average Weekly Wage” schedule, and a review of your past work history and earnings record.
If You’ve Been Injured at Work
In the event of a work-related injury, the first priority is to seek immediate medical treatment from the appropriate medical provider or emergency room. Matters relating to eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits can be explored and arranged after all injuries have been attended to. Once treatment has been rendered, the injured party should promptly notify his or her employer of the accident, including the approximate time and date of the injury, the location of the injury, how the injury occurred, and the identities of all persons present when the injury occurred. It is also strongly recommended that the injured party contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer before providing any further information to any other individuals, including the designated workers’ compensation insurance representative. Instead, the employee should be counseled on the full range of their legal rights, including the right to potentially receive additional benefits through what is commonly known as a “third party action”.
Speak with a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
To speak with a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, click here, or telephone Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll free at 886-414-0400. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished will be kept strictly confidential.