If you have been injured in Hyannis, MA while working, you might be wondering if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and which type of injuries are not covered under workers compensation law. If you consult a workers compensation lawyer in Hyannis, they will tell you that every state has a workers’ compensation law that requires employers to provide benefits to employees who are injured while working for them. Below, we have discussed who is eligible for workers compensation, which injuries are covered and plenty more information.
Are you Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You must be an employee in order to qualify for workers compensation benefits. Specifically, your eligibility for workers compensation will depend on whether you are an independent contractor, or an employee. Interstate railroad workers and crewmembers on vessels are the only types of employees who are not entitled to workers compensation benefits. If they are injured while on the job, they are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employers.
What’s the Difference between an Independent Contractor and an Employee?
An employee is someone who:
- a) Has his taxes deducted from his paycheck by his employer
- b) Has a permanent or long term position with his employer
- c) Uses his employer’s tools
- d) Does regular business for his employer
- e) Works under the supervision and direction of his employer
An independent contractor does not get his taxes deducted from his paycheck, uses his own tools, is hired for one job, is often highly skilled and does not necessarily perform his employer’s regular business. In short, an independent contractor is the opposite of an employee.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is how they both control the details of the work. An employer can tell an employee exactly how they want a particular task performed and they can supervise how it’s done every step of the way. An employer, on the other hand, cannot tell an independent contractor how to do their job.
For example, when you hire a cleaner, you can tell them how you want them to be cleaning your office. This job description qualifies them as an employee. But when you hire an electrician, you can tell them which circuit to fix but not how to fix it. This qualifies them as an independent contractor.
Does My Injury Have to be My Employer’s Fault in Order to Receive Workers Compensation Benefits?
An expert workers compensation lawyer Hyanis knows that workers compensation has nothing to do with fault. According to the workers compensation laws in Massachusetts, you are entitled to workers compensation regardless of whose fault it was. The most important thing you will need to prove is whether the accident was related to your job.
Why Can’t I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against my Employer?
When workers compensation was introduced, it was meant to provide medical benefits and wage replacement for injured employees in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of employee’s right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employers. This means that you cannot sue your employer for damages for your work related injuries.
Besides, filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer means you will have to prove fault in your case. Simply because you were injured at work, doesn’t mean that your employer is automatically liable for your injuries. In order to recover damages, you have to prove that your employer was negligent. If you can’t prove negligence you get nothing.
However, when you pursue workers’ compensation, you won’t have to prove that someone was negligent and you will still get compensation.
What if I got Injured Outside my Work Place?
You are still entitled to workers compensation benefits if you were injured outside your workplace provided the injuries were work related. Many types of work related injuries can occur outside the workplace and some of them include:
- a) Travelling to business meetings
- b) Making deliveries
- c) Travelling to work related education
- d) Injury at recreational work event
Which Injuries aren’t Covered by Workers Compensation?
Not all injuries that occur at the work place qualify as work related injuries. For instance, if you slip and fall down a flight of stairs because you were fighting with your spouse at your workplace, you won’t receive workers compensation benefits. However, if you slip and fall down a flight of stairs while transporting work equipment, you will be entitled to workers compensation.
Additionally, injuries that occur while you are travelling to and from your work place are generally not covered under workers’ compensation.
What if Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers Compensation Insurance?
All employers in the state of Massachusetts are required to have workers’ compensation. If they do not have workers’ compensation insurance you can:
- a) File a workers’ compensation claim with Massachusetts’s special fund for uninsured workers compensation.
- b) File a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. This is perhaps the only exception to the rule where you can sue your employer for work related injuries.
Which Types of Benefits Should I Expect to Receive?
You should expect the following types of workers compensation benefits:
a) Payment of Medical Expenses
You are entitled to have reasonable and necessary medical treatment paid. It’s not uncommon to hear an insurer disputing with an employee over what is reasonable and necessary treatment. The insurer may feel that the treatment has dragged on or that the treatment is not standard procedure so they might refuse to pay for it. If this happens, you are entitled to file a claim with the Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation agency to get the treatment paid for.
b) Permanent Impairment Benefits
You will be awarded these benefits if you are diagnosed with a permanent impairment based on guidelines developed by the American Medical Association. Permanent impairment is described as a restriction or limitation of use of a part of the body.
c) Weekly Compensation Benefits
You are entitled to a certain percentage of your pre-injury average weekly wage. How much the percentage will be will depend on whether your injuries caused total or partial disability.
You will not be able to receive benefits for pain and suffering in your workers’ compensation claim. This is because workers’ compensation is a trade off between business owners and labor. You are only allowed to receive benefits for pain and suffering when you file a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have a workers’ compensation case that you would like to pursue, contact one of our Kevin P Landry Law Offices workers’ compensation lawyers by dialing 508-775-1660 or by visiting our offices for a free initial consultation.