Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help Injured Employees Get Justice
Pursuing compensation for victims of worksite accidents in Massachusetts
Work injuries are a serious problem for workers in the Boston area. In factories, at construction sites and even in offices, workers are exposed to an endless variety of hazards. In 2013, there were about 65,000 non-fatal work injuries and illnesses and 57 deaths among private sector workers in Massachusetts. Almost a quarter of the work injuries were caused by falls, slips and trips, often due to unsafe work conditions. At the law firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C., we work hard to get employees the benefits or compensation they are entitled to under the law.
Understanding workers’ compensation in Massachusetts
Boston workers are generally protected by the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. These laws serve to ensure that workers have insurance to protect them in case they suffer an injury at work or become ill due to their employment. Employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. When workers are injured, they make claims which are paid by this insurance.
The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) administers work injury claims in the state. Claims can be made regardless of whether the employer was negligent or provided an unsafe workspace. In return for these “no-fault” benefits, employees generally give up the right to bring lawsuits. Our attorneys will advise you of your rights and help you bring a claim or appeal the rejection of a claim.
However, employees who are injured at work through the fault of someone other than their employer (or fellow employees) may also be able to bring a so-called “third-party claim” against the party at fault. For example, if you are injured at work because a piece of equipment you are using was dangerously designed or manufactured, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller of the equipment. Or, if you slip and fall on ice while entering a building where you will be working on a construction project, you may be able to sue the building owner or maintenance company. Bringing a third-party action does not affect your right to receive workers’ compensation. Our attorneys will advise you of your rights and help you bring a workers’ compensation claim, or appeal the rejection of a claim, and will also represent you in a third-party lawsuit if the facts support one.
What are the benefits available to injured workers?
There are a variety of benefits available to injured workers depending on the type, severity and duration of their injury. Some of the benefits are based on cost, while others are based on pay. Injured workers may be able to collect:
- Medical benefits. All injured employees who miss five or more full or partial days of work due to a work-related injury or illness, see M.G.L. c 152, s. 6, and are entitled to adequate and reasonable medical care, as well as reimbursement for travel. M.G.L. c. 152, s. 30
- Permanent loss of function & disfigurement benefits. Those who suffer an amputation or permanent full or partial loss of use of hand, foot, arm, or leg, lose specific bodily functions (such as vision or hearing), or suffer bodily disfigurement or scarring to the hands, face or neck are eligible to receive a one-time payment based on type and severity of the injury. M.G.L. c. 152, s. 36
- Death benefits. Families are entitled to reasonable burial expenses, up to eight times the Massachusetts average weekly wage, where an employee dies due to a work-related injury or illness. M.G.L. c. 152, s. 33
- Survivors’ benefits. If an employee dies due to work-related injuries or illness, his or her spouse and dependents are entitled to payment of benefits. M.G.L. c. 152, s.31
- Temporary Total Incapacity benefits (TTI). You are generally entitled to 60% of your average weekly wage while you are temporarily totally incapacitated, up to 156 weeks. M.G.L. c. 152, s. 34
- Partial Incapacity benefits (PI). Workers who lose only part of their earning capacity are eligible for this benefit while they are partially incapacitated. They can receive up to 75% of the amount that they would be eligible for under TTI. These benefits can last up to 260 weeks (or sometimes longer). M.G.L. c. 152, s. 35
- Permanent Total Incapacity benefits (PTI). Workers who are permanently and totally disabled due to a work-related injury or illness are entitled, after payment of TTI and PI, to two-thirds of their average weekly wage (but not less than the Massachusetts minimum weekly compensation rate nor more than the maximum weekly compensation rate) for the duration of their disability. M.G.L. c. 152, s. 34A
Our workman’s comp attorneys fight to get injured workers the benefits they are entitled to under the law.
What happens after a worksite injury
If you have been injured or made ill by your work, your employer is required to report the incident to the DIA and their insurer and provide you with a copy of the report. Once the insurer receives the report, they have 14 days to investigate and decide whether to pay. If your claim is denied, the insurer must explain why and inform you of your right to appeal. If you are appealing your claim to the DIA, you should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who will aggressively represent your interests.
There are multiple steps in the dispute process. First, a Conciliation will occur. This is an informal meeting where you and your attorney meet with the insurer and a conciliator from the DIA to try to reach an agreement. The next step would be a Conference in front of an administrative judge. This would be an informal procedure but would result in a judgment. Either party can appeal and request a Hearing, which is a more formal proceeding in front of the same judge. If either party appeals, the case will go to the Reviewing Board, which has the ultimate power to decide the case. Our attorneys represent workers at every step of this process.
Trust us to get you the benefits you deserve
At Feinberg & Alban, P.C., we pursue your workers’ compensation claim aggressively. We are relentless advocates for our clients while maintaining a professional and well-respected demeanor. If you have been hurt at work, call us immediately at (617) 232-5950 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.