The law in Massachusetts requires employers to provide a reasonably safe work environment. Most employers do, but when a work environment is not safe, employees can be injured. If you are injured on-the-job, arrange at once to consult with a Boston workplace injury attorney.

If you are injured at work, what are your rights? What steps should you take? Will you be approved for workers’ compensation benefits? Do you have other options for compensation? What if you’ve been catastrophically injured or permanently disabled in a workplace accident?

If you’ll continue reading, you will learn the answers to these questions. Additionally, if you have been catastrophically injured or permanently disabled because of a workplace accident, you will learn where to find the frank and personalized legal advice that you will need.

What Steps Should You Take After a Workplace Accident?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance system that employers pay for in order to compensate workers who have been injured in on-the-job accidents. Massachusetts requires all employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

If you are injured at work, seek medical attention first, and then report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. Your next step will be submitting a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact a Boston workers’ compensation attorney, even before you file your claim. Your attorney can ensure that the paperwork is accurate and complete and that there are no mistakes or misunderstandings, at least on your end, that could cause your payments to be delayed or denied.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?

The workers’ compensation benefits paid to a disabled employee depend on the extent of the disability. A worker who is disabled totally and permanently will qualify for more benefits than an employee who is temporarily disabled. Massachusetts law provides for the following benefits:

  1. Employees who are totally but temporarily disabled receive 60 percent of their average weekly wages for up to 156 weeks.
  2. Employees who are permanently totally disabled receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages. An injured employee may receive weekly workers’ comp benefits for life if that employee is permanently unable to work in any capacity.
  3. You may receive partial disability benefits if you can work but you’ve lost part of your earning capacity due to your job-related injury or illness. These benefits cover 60 percent of the difference in your average weekly wages before and after a workplace injury.

Could Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Be Denied?

An employee’s average weekly wage is calculated by averaging the employee’s wages for the 52 weeks prior to the injury date. However, there’s a “cap,” a maximum amount that may be paid, and that cap is adjusted each October for cost-of-living increases.

If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier accepts your claim, you should quickly receive your first disability payment, but if the insurance company rejects your claim, you may request an appeal hearing with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied by your employer’s insurance company, you will need to be represented at that appeal hearing by the right Boston workplace injury attorney.

What Are Your Other Options for Compensation?

The other options for compensation after someone is permanently disabled in a work-related accident include federal and state disability benefit programs and third-party personal injury lawsuits.

The Social Security Administration provides disability benefits to someone with a physical or mental condition that prevents that person from working and is expected to last for at least a year or result in death. The Social Security programs that provide benefits to qualified applicants are:

  1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program for those who have worked and paid enough Social Security taxes to earn a sufficient number of work credits.
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a program that provides benefits for those who have limited assets and incomes.

Does Massachusetts Provide Any Disability Benefits?

Since January 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave provides cash benefits to employees in this state who take paid leave for family or medical reasons.

Additionally, if you are unable to work for at least 60 days, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance provides cash benefits to qualified applicants who have few assets and little or no income.

Can You File a Lawsuit to Recover Damages?

If you are injured in an accident at your place of work, workers’ compensation is the usual legal remedy. Workers’ compensation shields employers from most personal injury lawsuits, and in return, injured workers do not have to prove that anyone was negligent or take any legal action.

However, you may be able to recover additional damages from a third party if that party was in any way responsible for your workplace accident and injury. A workplace injury lawyer can assess your case to determine if you have grounds to pursue a third-party personal injury claim.

What types of on-the-job accidents and injuries can trigger third-party personal injury claims? Here are two common examples:

  1. Work-related injuries can occur when equipment on the jobsite fails or malfunctions due to a production, engineering, or design flaw. In these instances, an injured employee may pursue a product liability lawsuit against the equipment’s manufacturer.
  2. When an employee drives in the course of his or her job duties and is injured in an accident with a negligent motorist, that employee can bring a personal injury claim against the other driver or against that motorist’s auto insurance company.

What Will It Cost You to Seek Justice?

If you pursue a third-party personal injury claim, there is a good chance that you may not even have to appear in court. Most personal injury cases in Massachusetts are settled in private negotiations outside of the courtroom by the attorneys for both sides.

When you seek an attorney to handle a worker’s compensation claim or a third-party personal injury lawsuit, your first legal consultation is provided without cost or obligation, and you pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.

Strict deadlines apply to both workers’ comp and personal injury claims, so you must act quickly – and you must seek personalized legal advice from an accident attorney – immediately after you’ve obtained medical treatment for a work-related injury.

A Massachusetts injury lawyer’s help is your right, and if you’ve been seriously injured in a job-related accident, your future could depend on it.