Workers’ Compensation FAQs
The following are some of the frequently asked questions concerning workers’ compensation that we encounter at the Law Offices of Ira C. Yellin, LLC. It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s situation is unique and nothing can replace the personalized advice you receive by meeting in person with a qualified lawyer. To schedule a consultation to discuss your situation, call us at 508-528-8885.
What is workers’ compensation? Workers’ compensation is a state law (MGL Ch. 152) that provides benefits to individuals who have sustained job-related injuries.
What type of benefits can I receive if I am injured at work? An injured worker may be entitled to weekly disability (partial or total) benefits, medical treatment, payment for permanent loss of function and scarring, and vocational retraining or education.
How do I know if I am entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? What is necessary is that you were injured during the course of your employment. As opposed to personal injury claims such as car accidents, it is not necessary that the accident be someone else’s fault.
What should I do if I get injured at work? First, you should make out an accident or incident report with your employer. You should also seek medical treatment right away. If your injury requires you to miss time from work and/or requires further medical treatment, you should immediately consult with an attorney.
Do I have to be at the job site at the time of my injury in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits? It is not necessary that you be at the workplace when you are injured in order to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. What is important is that your injury is sufficiently related to your employment.
What if my employer’s insurance company denies the benefits I am seeking? If you are denied benefits by the insurance company, you have the right to file a claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). Often, insurance companies agree to provide the benefits requested after the claim is filed. If not, judges at the DIA hold conferences and hearings to resolve disputes between employees and employers and their insurance companies.
Am I still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if I return to work? You do not need to be out of work to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Even if you have returned to work, the insurance company may still be responsible for the medical bills for the treatment of your injuries. Also, if you are making less money than you did before you were injured, you may be able to receive partial disability benefits to make up for your lost wages.
Are there settlements of workers’ compensation cases? There is no guarantee that the case will settle. workers’ compensation settlements occur when the injured employee, the insurance company and the employer are able to agree on how much should be paid to settle the case. The settlement (which represents future disability payments) must then be approved by a judge at the DIA as being in the best interest of the employee.
If I do settle my case, will I still be able to have the insurance company pay for my medical expenses? When you settle your workers’ compensation case, you are giving up your right to receive future disability payments. In most cases, you retain your right to future medical treatment.
Can I sue my employer for my injuries? No, you cannot sue your employer for injuries received at work. Your right is to receive workers’ compensation benefits and, as stated above, it is not necessary that you prove that someone else was at fault in causing your injury to do so. However, there may be a third party against whom you may pursue a personal injury claim if that other party was in fact at fault in causing your injury.
I am out of work. How can I afford to hire a lawyer to represent me on my workers’ compensation case? The workers’ compensation statute provides that the insurance company must pay a fee to your lawyer when such a fee is due (whenever the lawyer is successful in either presenting a claim or defending against the insurance company). If the lawyer is unsuccessful, no fee is due. Also, if the claim results in a lump-sum settlement, the attorney is entitled to a percentage (either 15 percent or 20 percent) of the settlement.