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.
Accidents in the workplace happen more often than you think. The next thing you know, you might be the next victim. Under the law, you are entitled to compensation for all the costs you had to pay as part of your recovery.
Knowing what steps to take can avoid unnecessary delays and other potential issues when looking to receive fair compensation for injuries sustained due to possible negligence of another party.
Write Down What Happened
Reduce inconsistencies by writing down what happened or recording your account on video. File a police report to further ensure that there’s a record of your version of what occurred.
Get Visual Evidence
Visual evidence should include photos of your injuries along with pictures or video footage of the location where the injury occurred. An attorney can help you secure any footage that may have been captured by bystanders.
Track Medical Expenses
Even if your health insurance may cover most of your expenses, it’s important to track immediate costs. Related expenses can be determined later with assistance from an attorney.
Identify Potential Witnesses
Witnesses may be reluctant to come forward, so get as much contact information as you can from anyone who may have observed your injury. You’ll get help from an attorney with any witness interviews and statements.
Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a personal injury claim in Massachusetts, which is usually three years from the time of injury.
When you need to apply for long term disability, the formal process takes some time, especially if the Massachusetts court adjudicators are backed up. While the process varies based upon your employer and medical situation, you can expect it to take up to 6 months. Your disability lawyer can help you understand the disability adjudication process and may be able to help you with any appeals or paperwork submissions that you need to do for your case.
Determination of Disability
The first task of a disability claim adjudicator is to determine whether or not you are completely disabled. The adjudicator is typically a physician or a team of nurses and physicians. The adjudicator may take into account your physical limitations and how they relate to the type of work you do.
Determination of the Benefit Period
The adjudicator must also determine the disability benefit period. In Massachusetts, most people can continue to receive long-term disability benefits until they reach the age of 62. After this, social security benefits take over the disability payments.
Determination of the Qualifying Period
Another task of a disability claims adjudicator is to determine the qualifying period for your disability. Most long-term disability claims require that you will be permanently and completely disabled for more than one year and that you are incapable of doing paid work. The adjudicator may consider time periods when you had a partial disability.
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.
You are living life, and then suddenly you are faced with a serious illness and can no longer work. What do you do? For many, long-term disability is an option.
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