Boston Workers' Compensation Lawyers
Many employers work hard to oppose workers' compensation claims to protect their bottom line or to avoid setting a precedent of paying these claims.
That is why injured employees need to work with a Boston workers' compensation lawyer on their claim. The skilled attorneys at Janet, Jenner & Suggs have the experience and legal knowledge you need to have a chance of recovering fair compensation in a workers' compensation claim. Our firm obtained a $35.9 million verdict for a construction worker who was paralyzed in a scaffolding accident.
Our Boston office is located at 31 St James Ave #365, two blocks from the historic Public Garden and just 15 minutes from the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, which processes Boston workers' compensation claims.
We offer a free consultation and do not charge legal fees unless there is a favorable resolution of your claim.
Myths About Workers' Compensation Claims
Unfortunately, some employees who were injured on the job wait too long to file a workers' compensation claim or do not file one at all, missing their chance to potentially obtain needed compensation.
This often happens because the employee believes one or more myths about workers' compensation claims, including:
- Some employers do not have workers' compensation insurance – With rare exception, almost every employer in the state is required to have coverage for all of their employees (Massachusetts General Laws Part I Title XXI Chapter 152 Section 25A).
- Workers are ineligible for benefits if they are at fault for the injury – In Massachusetts, workers' compensation is a no-fault system, which means fault is not a factor in determining your eligibility for benefits. This means you could be eligible for benefits even if the accident was entirely your fault.
- Independent contractors are ineligible for workers' compensation – This is generally true, according to Massachusetts General Laws Part 1 Title XXI Chapter 152 Section 1. However, it is possible that your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor when you are in fact an employee. Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers could help you challenge your classification if there is a compelling case for why you should be classified as an employee.
- Employers can fire people for filing workers' compensation claims – State law prohibits employers from firing employees who file workers' compensation claims (Massachusetts General Laws Part I Title XXI Chapter 152 Section 75B). Your employer also cannot fire you if you are capable of performing your essential job functions with reasonable accommodations.
- Workers' compensation does not apply to aggravation of a preexisting injury – Under Massachusetts law, any injury you sustained while carrying out the duties of your employment could qualify for benefits, including an injury that is an aggravation of a preexisting illness. In these situations, your injury is compensable for as long as it remains the predominant cause of your need for treatment.
- Injuries that occur outside of the office are not eligible for benefits – This is not always true, because sometimes workers are acting in the scope of their employment even when they are outside of the office. As long as you were working within the roles of your position when your injury occurred, you are most likely entitled to workers' compensation benefits. For example, if you were injured in a traffic accident while on your way to meet a customer or client, you may be entitled to workers' compensation.
If you suffered an injury on the job, do not let these misconceptions prevent you from filing a workers' compensation claim. You may be able to obtain the compensation you need to manage your medical expenses and support yourself while you recover from your injury.
Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers can answer any questions you have and guide you through the entire process of applying for benefits.
How Long do I Have to File a Claim?
Under Massachusetts state law, workers' compensation claims must be filed within four years of the date you first became aware of the causal relationship between your injury or disability and your employment. If you do not file a claim within that time, you lose your right to obtain benefits.
If a family member died because of a workplace injury, you have four years from the date of his or her death to file a claim for compensation.
However, you should not delay filing a claim. Your employer and its insurance company will be looking for a reason to deny your claim. Waiting could arouse suspicion that you are not really hurt and are just trying to get money. This could mean that your initial claim is denied and you have to go through a complex and lengthy appeals process.
Call our Boston workers' compensation lawyers right now. 1-877-692-3862
How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim in Massachusetts
If you suffer an on-the-job injury, inform your employer immediately. If the injury causes you to miss five or more full or partial days of work, your employer has to submit Form 101 – Employer's First Report of Injury/Fatality to the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) and their workers' compensation insurer within seven days of the fifth day you missed work.
If your employer does not submit this form, you should report the injury to the insurance company yourself. There should be a prominently displayed poster in your workplace with the name and address of your employer's workers' compensation insurance provider. If you cannot find the poster, call the DIA's Office of Insurance at 617-626-5480.
You should also complete Form 110 – Employee Claim to notify the DIA about your injury.
Once the insurance company is notified of your injury, it must investigate the claim within 14 days and decide if it will provide compensation.
Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers can help you complete any necessary forms and answer all of your questions about the process.
Contact our Boston workers' compensation lawyers today by calling 1-877-692-3862.
If My Claim is Approved When do I Start Receiving Benefits?
If the insurer agrees to pay your claim, you will receive Form 103 – Insurer's Notification of Payment and you should begin receiving a check within three or four weeks.
You will be compensated for lost wages for missed work after the first five full or partial calendar days of missed time. You will not receive compensation for those first five days unless you are disabled for at least 21 days.
For the first 180 days after your injury, you are in the "Pay Without Prejudice" period. This means the insurance company may decide to pay benefits for up to 180 days without deciding to accept liability.
The insurance company can decide to stop or reduce your compensation at any time, provided they send you Form 106 – Insurer's Notification of Termination or Modification of Weekly Compensation During Payment-Without-Prejudice-Period. This form must be sent seven calendar days before payments will be stopped.
In some cases, insurance companies ask to extend the payment without prejudice period for a year. However, you have to consent to this by filing out Agreement to Extend 180 Day Payment Without Prejudice Period – Form 105.
Contact Janet, Jenner & Suggs' Boston workers' compensation lawyers to discuss an extension of this period. We can inform you of all of your rights and help you determine if this is a good idea.
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What if My Claim is Denied?
If your workers' compensation claim is denied, you will receive Insurer's Notification of Denial – Form 104 via certified mail. The form will include the reasons for the denial and tell you that you have the right to appeal the decision. You can also call the phone number in box number six on the form to speak to your claim representative and ask questions about the denial.
How to Start the Appeals Process
If you want to appeal the denial, you must submit Employee's Claim – Form 110 to the DIA within 30 days of the date of your injury or disability. You must also submit a copy of the form to your employer's workers' compensation insurer.
Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers can help you fill out this form as completely and accurately as possible. We will also help you compile evidence to support your claim, such as medical bills and medical reports explaining how your injury or illness is related to your work.
After receiving the form, the DIA will schedule a conciliation within about two weeks. A conciliation is an informal meeting between you, your Boston workers' compensation lawyer, an attorney for the insurance company and a conciliator from the DIA. The purpose of the meeting is to attempt to reach an agreement to resolve the claim.
Conference with Administrative Judge
If an agreement is not resolved at this stage, your claim will be moved to a conference before an administrative judge. The insurance company and your Boston workers' compensation attorney will present documents, such as medical reports, wage statements and witness affidavits.
In order to be successful, your Boston workers' compensation lawyer will need to show that you were injured, the injury was work-related and any disputed medical bills were for necessary treatment.
If the judge does not overturn the denial of your claim, you have 14 days to appeal the decision by filing Form 121A – Agreement That No Impartial Physician Report is Required.
Hearing for an Injured Worker
The hearing is a more formal proceeding before the same administrative judge who presided over the conference. There will be sworn testimony and cross-examination for which Massachusetts Rules of Evidence will apply.
If the judge rules against you, you have 30 calendar days from the hearing date to appeal to the Workers' Compensation Reviewing Board by filing Form 112 – Appeal to Reviewing Board. However, the only reason you are allowed to appeal is if the you believe the judge made an error in his or her decision or during the hearing itself.
Workers' Compensation Reviewing Board
The reviewing board is only allowed to reverse the administrative judge's decision if it determines that the decision was:
- Beyond the scope of the judge's authority
- Inconsistent with rulings on similar cases
- Contrary to the law
In some cases, the reviewing board will recommit a decision to an administrative judge.
Massachusetts Court of Appeals
Your last chance of reversing a denial of workers' compensation is by having your Boston workers' compensation attorney appeal to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.
The Boston workers' compensation lawyers at our firm are well-versed in the appeals process and know what it takes to overturn a denial. Our workers' compensation attorneys will make sure we bring any relevant paperwork to each proceeding and present a strong case in your favor.
Call us today at 1-877-692-3862 to learn more about how we can help you.
Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits
If your Massachusetts workers' compensation claim is approved, you may be eligible for various benefits based on the severity of your injuries:
- Medical benefits – This covers adequate and reasonable medical care you required because of your injury or disability. You can also receive reimbursement for prescriptions, mileage for travel to and from medical appointments. These benefits continue for as long as you require medical and hospital services because of your injury or illness. The workers' compensation insurer is allowed to send you to a doctor of its choice periodically to evaluate your level of incapacity.
- Temporary total incapacity benefits – This is for injuries that prevent you from working for six or more full or partial calendar days, even if the days are not consecutive. You will receive 60 percent of your gross average weekly wage for up to 156 weeks.
- Partial disability benefits – This is for workers who suffered an injury limiting the type or amount of work they can perform. This includes situations where you had to change jobs for less pay or fewer hours. These benefits are paid on a weekly basis and workers can earn 75 percent of weekly total temporary benefits. These benefits are available for up to 260 weeks.
- Disfigurement and/or loss of function – Workers who were disfigured or lost function in a body part may be eligible for this benefit. This could include losing a limb, eyesight or suffering a permanent scar on your neck, face or hands. You will receive a one-time payment in addition to other payments, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
- Total and permanent disability benefits – In this scenario, workers could receive two-thirds of average weekly pay based on what they earned in the 52 weeks prior to their injury. Workers receive these benefits for as long as they are disabled.
- Death benefits – These are for spouses and children of a worker who died from an on-the-job injury or illness. Children must be under the age of 18, full-time students or unable to work because of a physical or mental disability. Spouses can receive weekly benefits equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker's average weekly wage. Spouses are eligible for annual cost-of-living adjustments starting two years after the date of injury or illness. Spouses are entitled to these benefits for as long as they remain unmarried and are dependent.
Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers will carefully review your situation to determine the types and amounts of benefits you should receive. We want you to obtain everything you are entitled to help you recover from your injury and support yourself and your family.
Call 1-877-692-3862 to discuss your legal options with a Boston workers' compensation lawyer.
Filing a Third-Party Lawsuit
Unfortunately, these benefits may not cover all of your expenses from a severe injury and Massachusetts law prohibits you from filing a Boston personal injury lawsuit against your employer for more compensation.
However, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against third parties that played a role in your injury. Third parties could be anyone besides your coworkers or your employer, including:
- Other drivers in traffic accidents
- Manufacturers of machines, equipment or chemicals
- Vendors responsible for maintaining equipment
- Suppliers of dangerous products
In third-party claims, including Boston product liability lawsuits, car accident lawsuits and other personal injury lawsuits, you may be able to recover compensation not provided by workers' compensation, including non-economic damages like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment.
Our Boston worker's compensation lawyers can review your situation to find out if you can file a third party lawsuit.
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Common Causes of On-The-Job Injuries
Employees in any industry can suffer severe injuries for which they can file workers' compensation claims. However, injuries are more likely to occur in some industries than others, including:
- Commercial fishing
- Electrical contracting
- Steel or iron manufacturing
These industries are more dangerous because they involve a lot of physical activity or the operation of heavy equipment or vehicles. These activities can result in a variety of dangerous accidents that injure workers, such as:
- Traffic accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Scaffolding accidents
- Crane accidents
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Burn accidents
Workplace injuries can also be caused by lifting heavy objects on a regular basis. This can cause severe back and joint injuries. Other severe workplace injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Tendon or ligament damage
- Head injuries
- Severe burns
- Lost limbs
- Breathing problems
If you suffered one of these injuries or aggravated a preexisting injury while doing your job, you may be able to recover compensation through a workers' compensation claim.
Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers can guide you through the entire process to help ensure you are successful and explore other legal options if your claim is denied.
Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form or live chat with a representative.
Contact our Boston Workers' Compensation Lawyers
If you suffered an injury at work, you need skilled legal representation to defend your rights and help you obtain all of the compensation you are entitled.
The Boston workers' compensation lawyers at Janet, Jenner & Suggs have the experience and legal knowledge you need. We have helped many employees through the workers' compensation process and we know how to be successful.
All of our clients are entitled to a free legal consultation and we do not charge legal fees unless we are successful.
Contact our skilled attorneys today by calling 1-877-692-3862.