If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, you probably have many questions. What are my rights? What does the process of obtaining workers' compensation involve? Am I allowed to use my doctor? At Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C. (PSRB) our worker's compensation attorneys can answer all of your questions and help you through the process so you can receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Many times, worker's compensation insurance adjusters deny claims outright or deny claims for necessary medical treatment. Often, they also insist that the injured worker consults a doctor chosen by the adjuster, not by the worker and the insurance company often pays this doctor. Meanwhile, the attorneys representing the employer often argue that the injuries are not the employer's fault but rather due to circumstances they are not responsible for causing.
One frequently used tactic employed by insurance companies and their lawyers is to offer the injured worker a timely but inadequate settlement. When a worker is injured and unable to earn a paycheck, taking this quick payment can seem attractive, even though the injured employee may regret taking the payment in the future as medical expenses pile up and wages are lost due to an inability to return to work.
No matter how simple or complicated your workers' compensation claim, you should hire a lawyer to protect this interests of yourself and your family. You may not want your employer to know that you've sought counsel and we respect that. You may only need someone to answer your questions and be available if a problem arises. We can do that as well. But you may need an experienced advocate who can aggressively pursue your rights before the Department of Industrial Accidents, and Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C. has been doing that for over 40 years.
We will aggressively pursue claims for benefits from the initial filing of the claim through all stages of a workers' compensation claim.
For your own protection, contact a lawyer today. If you choose to contact our office, one of our experienced attorneys will spend as much time as you need answering any questions that you may have.
The original Workers' Compensation Act came into existence in Massachusetts in 1911. It replaced a system in which workers who were injured on the job were required to file lawsuits and prove negligence on the part of their employers before they could recover anything. In the old system, large numbers of injured workers were left without a remedy because either the injury was not the result of the employer's negligence or it took so long to pursue the lawsuit that the employee was unable to support himself or herself while waiting. The Legislature decided that this situation was not tolerable. The Legislature created a system in which every worker who received an injury "arising out of and in the course of his employment" would be entitled to a schedule of benefits which provide support to the injured worker during disability and afford the worker some compensation for permanent injuries and medical expenses. Today, the Workers' Compensation Act makes it unnecessary to prove that the employer was negligent. In the new system, the injured worker need only show that the injury happened at work.
Every injury, no matter how seemingly insignificant, should be reported to your supervisor, the medical department at your company or shop, or some other person in authority. Most employers have a system of filing written reports so as to document accidents or injuries. However, if your workplace does not have such a system, you should insist that whomever you report the matter to write it down and provide you with a copy. You should also make note of any witnesses.
Unless your employer or the workers' compensation insurer has entered into what is called a "Preferred Provider Agreement," then you are entitled to seek medical attention from whatever health care provider that you believe to be appropriate. If a "Preferred Provider" exists, you may be required to have your first treatment at the "preferred" facility, after which you can change to the physician of your choice. Once you choose a doctor, you may need permission from the insurer or the Department of Industrial Accidents to change to another doctor specializing in the same field of medicine. In addition, all continuing medical treatment is now subject to "Utilization Review" under which the insurance company hires a private agency to decide whether tests, surgery, physical therapy, or other proposed care should be approved. If treatment is disapproved you may appeal to the Department of Industrial Accidents by filing a claim that asks a judge to approve the treatment.