There are many myths and falsehoods surrounding workers’ compensation. When you’re starting or dealing with the application process for a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to know the difference between fact and fiction.
Massachusetts a No-Fault State
The first thing to remember is that the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, meaning it does not matter whose negligence resulted in your injury, as long as you meet the criteria set forth by the state of Massachusetts. In return, employees cannot sue their employer directly for negligence and some other damages. This means that your employer cannot be sued for faulty equipment, but the manufacturer or some other entity may still be sued.
When deciding if you have a workers’ compensation claim, it should be noted that the workers’ comp system covers employees during a specific work-related incident, as well as for injuries and illness caused over a period of time directly resulting from employment duties. So, if you have a repetitive job that causes extreme muscle or joint strain and pain, you may be covered.
With that said, there are some conditions that are not covered under Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. Also, injuries and illness received over a period of time can be more difficult to prove and define. In these cases, the need for documentation to prove the injury is sustained from work-related activities is even more important.
When the need to file a personal injury claim, long-term disability claim or a worker’s compensation claim arises, you may not be in the best position to negotiate with insurance companies directly. Whether it’s your poor health or lack of familiarity in the field, you may not feel comfortable taking on that added stress.
Hiring a lawyer will always give you the best shot at getting the compensation you deserve. Here are a few things your lawyers want you to know before starting your claim.
Most Cases Don’t Make It To Court
The majority of successful claims never make it to court. This is because your lawyer will have negotiated a settlement that is acceptable to you and agreed to by the other party, whether it be an insurance company or the opposing side, long before the need for a trial arises.
Liability May Be Disputed
Many litigants aren’t prepared for this chance, but in many cases, the first line of defense is to dispute liability. Your lawyer will help you gather the evidence you need to demonstrate that the other side is indeed at fault, or that your claim is indeed valid.
Your Insurance Company May Not Pay
In some cases, even when liability is clear or the claim is clearly valid, the insurance company will not pay. This is a normal part of the litigation process, and your lawyer will ensure that liability is clearly demonstrated, often without needed to put you through the added stress.
In matters of gross negligence, there’s the possibility that punitive damages may be expected of the liable party. Punitive damages serve as a form of punishment to deter the defendant from participating in comparable behaviors in the future.
People have a legal obligation to take reasonable measures when conducting themselves. When someone fails to uphold this obligation and it results in a personal injury or property damage, then accountability may be assigned to the personal whose actions triggered the sequence of events that caused another person harm and compensation awarded to the victim for financial recovery regarding issues of lost wages, medical expenses, or funeral costs.
When a behavior is considered to be grossly negligent, a degree of recklessness needs to be present. For example, being aware of a situation that poses a danger but taking no steps to prevent the harmful effects could be considered gross negligence. If the victim of gross negligence decides to take legal action, then a lawyer may recommend seeking punitive damages. Such amounts vary, and factors, such as how offensive the defendant’s behavior was and the severity of the harm caused to the victim, are generally considered when determining an appropriate amount.
Punitive damages are not always involved in personal injury cases. When a matter warrants such damages, the motive is to provide an additional financial award for the victim while serving as an additional punishment for the defendant which is not considered part of the compensatory amount.
If you have been injured on the job, you have the right to compensation that will help you pay your bills and medical expenses. In some cases, this compensation will help you support your dependents while you are out of work. The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, which means that cases are generally settled in a timely manner after all of the facts have been evaluated.
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