Workers’ compensation in Massachusetts covers a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. In fact, in most situations, what type of injury or illness you suffer is not nearly as important as how you were injured to determine workers’ compensation coverage. Of course, there are some exceptions to this general rule. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether your particular injury will be covered under Massachusetts work comp laws.
Types of Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation covers a wide variety of injuries. The most common types of injuries include broken bones, head injuries, and strains or sprains. However, workers’ comp also covers injuries that you may not have considered, including:
- Hearing loss
- Back, hip, and shoulder injuries
- Chronic injuries
- Repetitive injuries
- Carpal tunnel
- Illnesses caused by repeated exposure to toxic materials or chemicals
Aggravation of preexisting conditions is also usually covered by workers’ compensation. For example, if you already have a bad back, and your back is injured further at work, your employer may be responsible under workers’ compensation for benefits related to any additional treatment. This is because you would not have had to undergo additional treatment if you were not further injured due to a work-related activity. While benefits may not cover all of the treatment, they may have to cover treatment until your back feels like it did before the injury.
Requirement that the Injury be Work Related
Although workers’ comp covers many types of injuries, there is still a requirement that the injury or illness be work-related to qualify for benefits. Generally, that means that you should have either been engaging in work activities at the time of the accident or “clocked in.” There are a few exceptions to this general rule, however.
The injury does not necessarily have to occur at or on your employer’s premises. You can also be covered even though someone else caused the accident. If, for example, you were out making a delivery and were involved in a car accident, you would likely be covered under work comp. Coverage can also extend to situations where employees are engaging in work-sponsored events like company picnics or company-sponsored sports teams.
If you are injured and it was in any way related to your employer, you should speak to a workers’ compensation attorney. He or she can explain whether there should be coverage based on your unique situation.
Fault in Workers’ Comp Cases
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. That means that there is coverage as long as you meet certain criteria—fault is not one of the factors considered in most situations. Because of this, coverage still applies even if the employee accidentally injured himself.
There are certain exceptions to this rule, but they usually involve a deliberate act on the employee’s part. For example, if the employee was drunk at the time of the accident, then workers’ comp benefits may not be available to them. If the employee started a fight or was otherwise being violent, then coverage in that situation might also be denied.
How Can I Know for Sure Whether I Should be Getting Work Comp Benefits?
The only way to know for sure that you are entitled to benefits is to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney in Massachusetts. Jim Glaser can consider the unique facts of your situation and advise whether you should be getting benefits and how much those benefits should be. Contact Jim Glaser Law today for more information or to schedule your free case evaluation.