Workplace injuries happen—even in workplaces that might be considered relatively safe, or in a workplace where safety really does come first. But what if your injuries and loss of income far exceed the resources provided by workers’ compensation? What if your employer tries to argue that you were not really an employee, or otherwise fails to provide workers’ comp benefits? Can you sue?
Workers’ Compensation: What It Is and How It Works
Most private Massachusetts employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for each and every employee. Coverage for an individual worker begins on his or her first day of employment, whether full-time or part-time. The Department of Industrial Accidents administers the workers’ compensation program and issues weekly checks to those eligible for compensation.
If a worker is injured in the course of their everyday job, he or she may be eligible for a variety of benefits. These may include:
- Disfigurement or loss of function: when a serious cosmetic or functional issue arises from an injury, compensation may be available. This may range from a scar up to the amputation of a limb.
- Partial disability benefits: if a worker is disabled and consequently unable to perform all job functions or work full-time, he or she may receive 60% of what he or she was earning before.
- Total disability benefits: For totally disabling injuries, a worker may receive 60% of what they earned before the accident for up to three years.
- Total and permanent disability benefits: Building on the other kinds of disability benefits, someone suffering a total and permanent disability from a workplace injury can receive 60% of what they earned before the accident for life, along with money to offset increased living expenses from medical care and adaptive technology.
- Death Benefits: When an accident is fatal, surviving spouses and children can receive 60% of the decedent’s paycheck.
Employers Cannot Be Sued—Typically
You may be able to sue your employer if they did not carry workers’ compensation insurance when required, or if the injury was the result of the employer’s egregious behavior or lack of workplace safety precautions.
In general, though, someone receiving workers’ compensation cannot sue the employer through whose insurance they are receiving benefits.
Third Parties May Be Sued
However, it is possible to sue third parties involved with your workplace accident. For example, if you were injured by a malfunctioning piece of machinery on the job, you can sue the manufacturer of the machine. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to review all the facts of your case, determine where third-party liability may lie, and help you recover damages.
The Personal Injury Advocate You Need
If you have been injured on the job, whether your employer accepted your workers’ compensation claim easily or not, you can benefit from contacting the skilled personal injury attorneys at our office. Call us today to discuss the unique circumstances of your accident and your subsequent needs.