If you are injured at work in or near the Boston area, you will probably qualify for basic workers’ compensation benefits, but you may be eligible for more. After a job-related injury, schedule a consultation to discuss your options for compensation with a Boston personal injury lawyer.
A work-related injury can put your health at risk, disrupt your future, and devastate your finances. What should you know about your options for compensation if you are injured on the job in or near the greater Boston area? Keep reading, and you’ll learn some important answers.
In the United States in 2019, over 2.8 million work-related illnesses and injuries were reported by private-sector employers. No work is risk-free. You could be severely injured at any kind of job. Office workers, for instance, often suffer back injuries and trip-and-fall injuries.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
The workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts offers basic coverage if you are an employee and you get sick or you’re injured because of your job. Massachusetts law compels all employers in this state to provide workers’ compensation coverage for all of their employees.
Workers’ compensation insurance in Massachusetts covers all reasonable medical expenses arising from a work-related illness or injury. Workers’ comp also partially replaces your lost earnings for the days you cannot work for up to 156 weeks.
Benefits are minimal. Workers’ compensation provides no coverage for pain and suffering, and it imposes no punitive damages on employers for negligence. Especially if your illness or injury was catastrophic or permanently disabling, workers’ compensation simply does not offer enough.
What’s the Biggest Mistake Injured Workers Make?
In Massachusetts, the biggest mistake that injured workers make is failing to learn about their options for additional compensation beyond basic workers’ comp benefits. If you are injured in an accident at work, these are your immediate priorities:
- Seek medical attention first and right away. It’s the top priority.
- Report the accident and injury to your employer as quickly as possible.
- Apply for workers’ comp benefits promptly.
- Schedule a consultation with a Boston workplace injury attorney at once.
If a work-related injury happens in a traffic accident, summon the police to the scene. Later, the written police accident report may become important evidence if you are able to pursue a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
What Are “Third-Party” Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Then, consult a Boston personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you have received medical treatment. An employer is not always the liable party – or the exclusively liable party – in a work-related illness or injury case.
In fact, if any party other than your employer played any direct role in causing your work-related illness or injury, you may be able to acquire additional compensation with your attorney’s help by filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
Massachusetts does not allow personal injury lawsuits against employers, even for egregious negligence or willful misconduct. Instead, injured workers are awarded twice the amount of their wage and medical benefits if an illness or injury is caused by an employer’s willful misconduct.
Who May Have Liability for a Work-Related Injury?
However, a third-party personal injury lawsuit may be brought against a negligent motorist, a contractor, a vendor, a client, a property owner, or anyone – that is, anyone other than your employer – who has any liability for a job-related injury or illness you may suffer. For example:
- Any employee who is injured by a defective or faulty product while at work may bring a product liability lawsuit against that product’s manufacturer.
- Any employee who is injured by exposure to a toxic substance while at work may bring a toxic tort action against that substance’s manufacturer.
If you are injured or if you become ill at work or because of your work, you need to know if a third party may be held liable. That is why you should have a Boston workplace injury attorney review your case and discuss your rights as soon as possible after a work-related injury or illness.
What Does a Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuit Require?
A third-party personal injury lawsuit can provide substantially more compensation than the workers’ comp system, but prevailing with a lawsuit also means having to prove that a third party was negligent or intentionally reckless in a way that directly caused your injury or illness.
Your first legal consultation with a Boston workplace injury attorney will not obligate you to anything or cost you anything. You’ll get the personalized legal advice you need, and you will learn if you have grounds to bring a third-party personal injury claim.
If you and your personal injury attorney agree to proceed with a third-party personal injury lawsuit, you will pay no attorney’s fee unless and until compensation is recovered on your behalf with a negotiated private settlement or with a jury verdict.
What Else Should You Know About Workplace Injuries?
If your work-related injury is a construction injury, the legal complexities may seem overwhelming. Construction in the Boston area is governed by a mix of federal, state, and local authorities with sometimes overlapping and often confusing statutes, rules, and regulations.
Injured construction workers will need advice and representation from a Massachusetts lawyer who is familiar with the construction industry, knows the law, and routinely handles third-party lawsuits on behalf of injured construction workers.
The most catastrophic workplace injuries – severe spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, for instance – may mean permanent disability and require life-long medical care, but lesser injuries can also keep you away from work for far too long.
When Should You Contact a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney?
For most job-related, third-party personal injury cases in Massachusetts, the statute of limitations is three years. This means that you have three years from the date you were injured to file a lawsuit. After three years, the courts in Massachusetts will not hear your case.
However, when you bring a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney should be able to examine the evidence while it’s fresh and to speak with any witnesses before their memories fade. Don’t wait three years – or even three weeks – to speak with a lawyer if you are injured at work.
Make the call to a Boston personal injury attorney as soon as you have been examined and treated for a work-related injury or illness. Your attorney will fight aggressively and effectively for the maximum compensation amount that you are entitled to by law.