Most employers have specific protocols that they need to follow when an employee is hurt at work. These standards will generally help the employee take advantage of Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. However, even though your employer and their insurance company is helping you through the process, it is important to keep in mind that they may not always have your best interests in mind. Instead, you may need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to assert your rights. When you have been hurt at work, you have the following rights:
- You should have access to workers’ compensation.
Most employers in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. That means that if you are hurt at work, then your employer will cover your medical expenses and some of your time off work. This coverage starts the day that you start your job, and covers both full time and part time employees. It even includes undocumented workers. There are some exceptions to this general rule for certain types of employers and small businesses, so check with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Massachusetts for more information.
- Your employer will pay a portion of your wages while you are recovering.
While you are off work, you will receive what is called “Temporary Total Incapacity Benefits.” You will qualify for these benefits if you are unable to work because of your injury for six or more full calendar days. These days do not have to be consecutive to receive this benefit. Your benefits are only a portion of your total wages—usually 60 percent. To determine this amount, your employer and their insurance company will consider your hours, regular wages, bonuses, commissions, overtime, and any other factor that may affect your wages and divide that number by the number of weeks that you have been at your job. You can receive this benefit for up to 156 weeks (3 years).
- Your employer will pay for your related medical appointments and services.
As long as the insurance company and your employer decide that your injury is related to your work, then they should pay for your medical expenses. This can sometimes be an issue if you had previous health conditions or prior injuries. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you talk with your employer or their insurance company if you are, for some reason, being denied medical care. Keep in mind that your employer chooses where you will receive medical care in most situations.
- If you have continuing care after your recovery period, your employer must give you time off work to attend appointments.
Many work injuries require ongoing treatment even after you are released to go back to work. This could include future medical appointments, surgery, or physical therapy. Your employer must give you time off work to attend these appointments if they cannot be scheduled outside of working hours. However, your employer does not have to pay your regular wages for this time. Nonetheless, the insurance company will reimburse you for any travel expenses you may incur to attend these appointments.
These rights are extremely important if you have been hurt at work. Under Massachusetts law, you are entitled to workers’ compensation if you have been injured on the job. If your employer or their insurance company is refusing to provide coverage or refusing to pay you properly, then a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can be a great ally. Call Jim Glaser Law at 781-689-2277 for more information.