Qualifying for Workers’ Comp in Springfield, Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect both you and your employer. No-fault rules generally apply to workplace accidents; in theory, you should automatically qualify for benefits as long as you have to take a minimum of five days off work. These five days do not have to be consecutive.
There are different benefits under workers’ compensation you can receive, depending on your accident. You should qualify for:
- Permanent and total incapacity benefits when you cannot perform any kind of work;
- Temporary total incapacity benefits when you cannot perform work for six or more full or partial calendar days (in these cases, it is expected you will be able to work upon recovery); or
- Temporary partial incapacity benefits when you can work but earn less because, for example, you work fewer hours or take a lower-paying role.
Whenever you suffer an on-the-job injury or illness that requires medical attention, even if you can return to work immediately, you will qualify for medical benefits. These benefits cover:
- Reasonable medical care;
- Reimbursement for prescriptions; and/or
- Reimbursement for transport costs incurred on the way to and from medical appointments.
Adequate compensation is critical for recovery from debilitating injuries. Don’t put complete faith in your employer as the company has a financial incentive to see your claim fail. Instead, trust a workers’ comp lawyer in Springfield with more than 25 years of experience handling workplace injuries.
Workers’ comp insurance is expensive, and any injury can increase employer premiums. Companies often try to ignore, deny, or reduce claims, especially in complex cases like burn injuries. That’s why, in addition to needing a top-class workers’ comp attorney in Springfield, seeking the expertise of a Springfield burn injury lawyer is crucial to help you navigate and win your case effectively.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
Suffering an injury at work can make life difficult, especially if you will be out of work for any given amount of time. Below are the answers to some questions we regularly get from clients who have suffered workplace injuries.
What Do I Do If I Get Hurt at Work?
If you injure yourself while at work or become ill because of work, there are a few steps you should take to safeguard your rights. They are as follows:
- Immediately inform your employer of your injury.
- Get medical attention. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be taken to an emergency room, or you may be able to drive yourself home. Even if you do get discharged right away, make sure you get medical attention to document the injury, as these records may be important evidence later on.
- Provide a doctor’s note to your employer if you plan to miss work for any length of time – whether it is for one afternoon or several weeks.
- If possible, make sure your employer creates a written report detailing your accident and injury.
- Contact the Cava Law Firm.
At Cava Law Firm, we will review your workers’ comp claim, answer your questions, and advise you on your best options during a free initial consultation. So, there is no risk to you, other than the risk of missing out on personalized advice from an experienced and resourceful workers’ comp lawyer and thereby losing your chance to recover full compensation.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If your workers’ comp claim is not disputed, you could receive payment within weeks. However, only 50% of workers’ comp claims go undisputed in Massachusetts. The other 50% take much longer.
A hearing must occur within 210 days (7 months). Though many disputed workers’ comp claims settle before the hearing. A key factor that could see your case conclude more quickly is competent, expeditious negotiation by your Springfield workers’ compensation lawyer.
For How Long Will I be Able to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ compensation provides two types of benefits: wage loss and medical care. You can receive wage loss benefits for:
- As long as you are disabled when the injury results in permanent and total incapacity
- Up to 156 weeks when the injury results in temporary total incapacity
- Up to 260 weeks when the injury results in temporary partial incapacity.
Medical benefits should be available for as long as care remains necessary. Keep in mind, though, that an insurance company can refuse to pay for treatment it deems unreasonable or unnecessary. If that happens, you can appeal the denial with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA).
How Are Wage Benefit Amounts Determined?
To determine your weekly wage benefits, you must use the calculations that correspond with the type of benefits you are receiving. To get your gross average weekly wage, you calculate your average earnings over the 52 weeks prior to your injury date.
- Permanent and total incapacity benefits: You receive 66% of your gross average weekly wage; however, maximum and minimum limits are applied. The maximum weekly wage you can collect is whatever the average weekly wage in Massachusetts is at the time of your injury. The minimum is 20% of that same average. Also, you get an annual Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA).
- Temporary total incapacity benefits: You can get 60% of your gross average weekly wage. The maximum you can receive, however, is the state’s average weekly wage at the time of your injury.
- Temporary partial incapacity benefits: The most you can receive is 75% of your weekly temporary total incapacity benefits. Temporary total benefits are 60% of your gross average weekly wage. So, first you calculate what you would receive for temporary total benefits (see above), and then find 75% of that figure.
What Happens If My Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
If your claim is denied, you will not receive workers’ comp right away. You can, however, appeal a denied claim through the DIA. The DIA will review your appeal and either:
- Reject it and send you a letter informing you of this decision
- Set a conciliation meeting involving you, your lawyer, your employer, and your employer’s insurance company to discuss the claim. Your employer does not need to attend, but you and a representative of your employer’s insurance company must be there.
Conciliation is a dispute resolution framework that does not involve going to court. If a settlement is not reached, the conciliator provides a recommendation to the DIA. Then, a conference is set, and a judge will review the case and either order or deny compensation. If either party is unsatisfied, this order may be appealed, and a hearing will be set.
This time-consuming process is highly undesirable when you have bills to pay and injuries to recover from. To avoid it, you need to find an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help you from the very start. At Cava Law Firm, we offer free initial consultations. If you win your claim, the insurance company pays your legal fees. If we settle, the fee is deducted from the settlement. You will never have to pay us out of your own pocket.
How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Massachusetts?
Generally, you have four years from the date you suffer your injury or illness or become aware that your injury or illness was caused by work. In some cases, though, this four-year statute of limitations may not apply; your workers’ comp attorney will be able to advise you on the time limits that will apply in your case.
We hope that these answers help you to better understand workers’ compensation claims in Massachusetts. We recognize that this list is not comprehensive, and you probably have a lot more questions.
Winning Is NO Accident! How A Top-Class Springfield, MA, Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You
At Cava Law Firm, we know the strategies employers and insurance companies use to deny or reduce workers’ comp claims. These include:
- Claiming the workplace in question is up to date with OSHA requirements
- Highlighting written safety plans
- Arguing that claimants fail to visit the doctor chosen by the employer, or that claimants fail to follow doctor’s orders
- Recording claimants in public or in the yards or driveways of their homes, or reviewing their social media activity.
At Cava Law Firm, we will review your case, advise you on your rights, and explain when you can see your own doctor instead of your employer’s preferred doctor. We will use our experience, skills, and dedication to prepare your case.
In some cases, we can increase Social Security Disability Awards from the federal government.
At Cava Law Firm, we will work hard and do everything we can to win you the benefits or lump-sum award you deserve.
Contact us online or call us at (413) 737-3430 or (413) 781-CAVA (2282) to schedule a free initial consultation.