When a worker is injured on the job in Boston, they are entitled under law to recover benefits in a Workers’ Compensation claim. In reality, this can be extremely challenging, even if your claim is approved.
This is because the state of the healthcare and Workers’ Compensation system in Massachusetts is nearly in shambles. Injured workers often have trouble even locating a healthcare provider who will accept Workers’ Compensation insurance. When they do, they are often turned away because of the low rate that Workers’ Compensation insurance compensates doctors. One of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to have a Boston Workers’ Compensation lawyer act on your behalf.
When You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts is almost universally regarded as a dysfunctional and wasteful system that provides very little help to injured workers. Even when an injured worker is clearly entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, it can be an intense struggle to get the treatment they need under Massachusetts rules. This is why it is critical to hire a Boston Workers’ Compensation lawyer immediately after getting injured on the job. This will give you the best chance of getting the treatment you need in a reasonable amount of time without suffering further damage to your injuries.
Before Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
It is imperative that you work with a Boston Workers’ Comp attorney before filing your claim. Without legal support backing you, it is likely, given the current atmosphere, that you will be turned away by medical professionals who do not want to accept Workers’ Compensation as payment.
If you have a Workers’ Compensation claim, you usually have the freedom to choose your preferred medical provider. However, if your employer or their insurance company has a “Preferred Provider Agreement,” you must schedule your initial appointment at one of the preferred facilities. Subsequent appointments can then be made with your chosen doctor. Failing to follow this procedure may put your workers’ compensation claim at risk. This is where many injured workers run into trouble.
More and more, qualifying physicians are turning away Worker’s Compensation patients because the rate at which Worker’s Compensation repays these doctors is quite low. In many cases, doctors will receive less money for the treatment they provide than they would through Medicare, which is notoriously low. The problem is that the consequences of this fall squarely on the injured worker, who is simply trying to get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
It is not uncommon for injured workers to spend much of their time just trying to find a doctor that will treat them as there are far fewer providing treatment for Workers’ Compensation claims these days. This can result in you missing even more time from work, as well as potentially making your injuries worse. For instance, if your injuries require surgery and the operation is not performed soon after being injured, you could suffer permanent damage. Having an attorney act on your behalf could help cut through some of the barriers between you and your treatment.
Of course, your healthcare provider might not be the only party preventing you from recovering the benefits you are entitled to. If your employer is preventing you from filing a claim for the benefits you are entitled to or does not believe you are actually injured, seeking legal advice might be necessary. Most employers would rather pay the insurance benefits they are responsible for than let a lawsuit determine what will be paid in a case.
After Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have filed a Boston Workers’ Compensation claim and are still awaiting benefits, it is never too late to seek counsel from an attorney. They can assist in identifying any issues causing delays in receiving benefits. Many injured workers require legal representation after filing their claims, as claims are often denied due to missing paperwork or because the insurance company simply does not want to pay. Fortunately, many of these issues can be resolved with the right legal support.
If your claim has been denied, seeking the help of a Workers’ Compensation lawyer can assist you in preparing an appeal. You might also be receiving benefits, but they are less than what you are entitled to. If you are denied your benefits after experiencing a workplace injury, exploring other legal avenues to recover compensation would be worthwhile.
When You Should Consider Filing a Lawsuit in a Workers’ Compensation Case
Given the state of the Workers’ Compensation system in Massachusetts today, it might be necessary to file a lawsuit to enforce the rights given to you under the law. Employers and doctors can and do ignore calls and pleas for treatment from injured workers acting on their own behalf. They are much less likely to ignore a lawsuit when one is served on them. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you prepare a lawsuit in the following situations:
Your Employer’s Willful Misconduct
In certain circumstances, it may be possible for an individual to pursue legal action against their employer. Unlike a lawsuit against a third party, which seeks to demonstrate that the defendant acted negligently and caused harm, a lawsuit against an employer usually must prove that the accident was a result of deliberate or willful misconduct on the part of the employer. Examples of such misconduct include failing to provide sufficient safety equipment and inadequate employee training.
Workplace accidents and injuries often occur due to the negligence of third-party workers at your job. If the negligence of another worker caused your injuries, a third-party lawsuit might be able to be brought against them and their employer if they work for a different company.
Injuries Caused by Defective Work Equipment
When a worker sustains injuries due to faulty machinery or equipment, it is possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or designer. Additionally, other parties involved in distributing or selling the defective product may also be held accountable if they were aware or should have been aware of the defect. These are often some of the most challenging cases and can be very difficult to prove without the help of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney.