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Workers' Comp Insurance

What is workers’ compensation insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance refers to an insurance policy that employers are required by law to buy for their employees. Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for workers who suffer an injury as a result of their work duties. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for a worker who is hurt in an accident, who develops a repetitive stress injury as a result of his job, who has a medical condition aggravated because of his work or who becomes ill as a result of exposure to toxins on the job.

Who pays for workers’ compensation insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance is paid for by employers for covered employees.

What if my employer does not have the insurance required by law?

If your employer does not have the required workers’ compensation insurance coverage and you suffer a work related injury, the Massachusetts’ Workers’ compensation Trust Fund can provide you with the benefits and coverage that you would have received had your employer been properly insured.

What if my employer has incorrectly classified me as an independent contractor?

Employees are covered under workers’ compensation but independent contractors are not. If your employer has incorrectly classified you as an independent contractor and you have suffered a work injury, you may be able to seek compensation anyway based on the argument that you were not properly classified. A workers’ compensation lawyer should be consulted in these situations.

What if I do not know who my employer’s workers’ comp insurer is?

Your employer is required to disclose who their workers’ compensation insurer is. Your employer must have a Notice to Employees poster up somewhere in the workplace specifying who their insurer is. Your employer is also required to provide you with a copy of the report they submit to the insurance company regarding your injury. This report should have the name and contact information of the workers’ compensation insurer. You may also ask your employer for the name of the insurer at any time. If your employer fails to provide you with information on the insurer or on your workers’ compensation claim, then your employer may be in violation of the law. You should consult with a Boston workers’ compensation attorney for assistance in these cases.

Can I trust the workers’ comp insurer?

The workers’ compensation insurer representing you does not have the same goal as you do. Your goal is to obtain the maximum amount of coverage that the law provides for your work injury. The goal of the insurance company is to minimize the money that they must pay out. As such, insurance companies will often try to get you to agree to a lump sum settlement that is lower than it should be, or may try to deny legitimate claims or force you back to work before you are ready. When dealing with a workers’ compensation insurance company- and especially before signing anything giving up your rights- you should have a legal advocate on your side representing you.

How do I make a claim under workers’ compensation insurance?

When you suffer a work injury, your only obligation to make a claim is to report the injury to your employer and to provide details about what happened and what type of injury you experienced. Your employer then has to file notice of your injury to the workers’ comp insurer who must investigate the claim. If your employer fails to pursue a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf after a work injury, then you should consult with a Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation lawyer for help.

What obligations does a workers’ compensation insurer have?

When an employer submits a report of employee injury to the workers’ compensation insurer, the insurer is obligated to review the claim and to either approve and begin paying benefits or to deny the claim within 14 days.

What types of work injuries are covered under workers’ compensation insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance provides broad protection for any type of work injury. This includes repetitive stress injuries, illnesses due to toxic exposure, and even aggravation of pre-existing conditions. The covered work injury may have occurred at your routine place of work or off-site as long as you were performing work tasks when injured.

What is covered under workers’ compensation insurance?

Workers’ compensation benefits cover the full cost of reasonable and customary medical care for work injuries. Workers are also entitled to lost wages if at least five days of work are missed. Workers who are either temporarily and totally disabled either temporarily or permanently will receive disability benefits equal to a portion of their weekly average wages. Those who suffer certain injuries, such as scarring or disfigurement, blindness, deafness or the loss of a limb will also be given a set amount of cash compensation.

Medical bills to disabled workers’ are paid directly by the insurance company as the costs are incurred. Workers may also receive ongoing benefit payments for disability. In some cases, however, workers’ compensation insurers will settle a workers’ compensation claim for a lump sum.

Do I still need workers’ compensation insurance if I have health insurance?

If you suffer a work injury, the costs of medical care should be paid for by workers’ compensation insurance and you should always file a workers’ comp claim even if you have health insurance. Workers’ compensation provides for full payment of medical bills with no co-pay. Workers’ compensation also offers other types of benefits payments not available under a health insurance policy including payment for lost wages. If your employer tries to encourage or require you to use your health insurance instead of making a workers’ comp claim, your employer may be violating the law.

What if the workers’ compensation insurer offers me a settlement?

If you are offered a lump sum settlement of your workers’ compensation claim, it is important to understand that accepting the settlement can result in all future benefits ending. In other words, once you’ve settled your claim, the insurer will typically not have any further responsibility for paying for your medical bills or your other costs associated with the work injury. Before you settle your claim, therefore, it is imperative you consult with a Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation attorney.

Can I file a lawsuit if I am covered by workers’ compensation insurance?

You may not file a lawsuit against your employer if you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Your only recourse is to make a claim with the insurer. However, if there was a third party responsible for your injury, you may file a suit against that individual or entity. For example, if you were harmed using a product at work due to a defect in the product, then an injury claim could be filed against the product manufacturer. This third party lawsuit would be separate and distinct from workers’ compensation insurance.

How do I pay for a lawyer to help with workers’ compensation insurance?

Attorneys assisting clients in workers’ compensation claims will charge on a contingency fee basis. This means payment is made for legal fees only if money is recovered for the workers’ compensation claim. The insurer may be ordered to pay legal fees in some cases. In other instances, your lawyer will be compensated based on a percent of the money recovered in a lump sum settlement. The law caps the legal fees that can be paid.

How do I find a lawyer to help with workers’ compensation insurance claims?

Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can assist you with your claim. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.

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