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Workers’ Compensation Versus Private Health Insurance

You have gradually developed a painful workplace injury caused by repetitive stress or repetitive motion. The injury may affect your hand, or shoulder or neck. You may have carpal tunnel syndrome, a common workplace injury in Massachusetts, particularly among women. You’ve been trying to work through the nagging pain, hoping it will go away. But it’s only gotten worse.

When you mentioned your workplace injury to your supervisor, your boss didn’t take you seriously at first. After all, you are still on the job and productive. When you brought up your injury again, your supervisor complained about the hassles of workers’ compensation claims. Your supervisor suggested that it would be easier if you just filed a claim with your personal health insurance and let them handle it.

You could follow your supervisor’s shortsighted advice and, in effect, take one for the company. But there are some concerns you should be aware of.  Relying on private health insurance to cover a workplace injury may cost you a good deal of money out of your own pocket. Workers’ compensation insurance pays for medical treatment, including physical therapy and medications for diagnosed workplace injuries. It also covers a portion of your lost wages. Private insurance does not cover lost wages and may require co-pays for any treatment.

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is set up to ensure that workers who are injured on the job—through a traumatic accident or a gradual repetitive motion—get their medical bills. Repetitive stress injuries are among the fastest growing types of workplace injuries. Certain tasks such as data entry, typing, painting, grasping tools, scanning groceries, manufacturing and seafood processing involve repetitive motions that can lead to serious injuries and long absences from work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A serious repetitive stress injury may be debilitating, require ongoing physical therapy or require that you change jobs. Workers’ compensation covers retraining costs. Private health typically does not. These are legal concerns to take into consideration. It’s important to weigh your options with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer.

You have a legal right to workers’ compensation. By not filing a workers’ compensation claim when your injury is initially diagnosed, you also may be giving your employer and the insurance carrier a good defense for denying your claim later. They may use your reliance on private health insurance to contend that their liability for workers’ compensation for your injury hasn’t been established. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can explain your legal options at no charge and advocate for your rights.

The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., are here to assist employees trying to recover from workplace illnesses and injuries. Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation law firm legal focuses on advocating for the rights of injured workers.

For a free case evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim, please complete our online form or call Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., toll-free at (800) 367-0871 to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.