Nearly all Massachusetts companies are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In doing so, employees essentially forfeit the option to sue an employer. However, there may be circumstances where an employee can pursue additional damages for a job-related injury.
This article will discuss what workers’ compensation covers and when you can seek additional damages.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Explained
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation system was created to ensure both employees and employers are protected. Workers’ compensation guarantees that employees who are injured or rendered ill because of the job are covered under insurance.
Worker’s compensation benefits may cover payment of hospital and medical bills, partial paycheck replacement, and disability benefits. Disability payments may be temporary or permanent and will cover about two-thirds of a worker’s regular salary. When needed, rehabilitation may also be covered by worker’s compensation benefits.
The purpose of employers providing workers’ compensation is to cover an injured employee’s expenses and eliminate the need for litigation.
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act does not provide benefits for pain or suffering. Even though an employee cannot sue an employer to recover such compensation, there are other options.
Workers’ Compensation Exceptions
While Massachusetts generally requires employers to comply with the workers’ compensation law, there may be a few exceptions. If you are injured while working for an uninsured employer, you have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that entity.
Additionally, if your employer’s wrongful actions led to injury or harm, you may be entitled to additional damages even if they provide workers’ compensation. You may be awarded double the amount of workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove employer negligence.
For example, if an injury occurs because an employer committed an OSHA violation, additional damages may be awarded. However, the worker must prove an employer’s deliberate misconduct led to the injury.
Third Party Claims
While you may not be eligible to sue your employer, Massachusetts law allows injured parties the right to sue a third party if found responsible for an injury. For instance, if an employee is injured while using defective machinery, actions against a third party may be taken.
If you feel a third party is responsible for a workplace injury due to neglect or misconduct, you may be eligible to recover additional damages.
Following an Injury
Immediately following a workplace injury or illness, you should seek medical care to establish evidence of your condition.
Workplace injuries should be reported to employers within 30 days of an incident. However, because some injuries or illnesses develop gradually, the 30 day period may not begin until an employee discovers the medical condition. Under the workers’ compensation law, you generally have 4 years to file a claim in connection with your injury and your employment.
Contact our office today to learn more about your rights and benefit entitlement. You need a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who understands Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws to recover the damages you are owed.