Accidents happen everyday in the Massachusetts workplace. Clearly, nobody plans on going to work one day and being injured in a workplace accident. Not surprisingly then, most people are not sure what to do when they are injured on the job. Although most people realize that the workers’ compensation system exists, if you have never had to use the system you may not know what to do next. Although each accident is as unique as the individual who is injured, there are some basic steps that every injured employee should take after sustaining a workplace injury.
- Seek medical treatment. This may seem like an obvious first step; however, sometimes when an injury is not life threatening and an employee is concerned about his job, he may delay medical treatment. This can be problematic for two very important reasons. The first reason is that with many injuries, the longer you wait to have a full medical examination, the worse the injury becomes. The human body is an amazing machine, but it can handle only so much damage before it starts to break down. When it does start to break down, there is often a chain reaction. An injury that was not serious to begin with can become serious in short order if you delay treatment. The other important reason that you do not want to delay treatment is that you must ultimately prove that your injury was sustained on the job. If you do not seek treatment right when the injury happens, your attorney will have a harder time proving that the injury was caused on the job. In addition, if you made the injury worse by waiting, or additional injuries are caused by your delay, you may not receive compensation for them.
- Ask your employer for the name and contact information for their workers’ compensation liability carrier. By law, your employer must provide this information to you upon request. Many employers not only provide you with the contact information, but will give you the forms necessary to fill out a claim.
- Contact a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney. You are not required by law to have an attorney represent you when you file for workers’ compensation benefits; however, there are a number of reasons why you should consider retaining one. The workers’ compensation system is complicated. Even if you are clearly entitled to benefits, you may end up being denied for something as simple as failing to fill out a form correctly. In addition, although many employers are more than happy to cooperate with the workers’ compensation system, others are not. Some employers fight workers’ compensation claims which can make it much more difficult to receive the medical coverage and wage replacement that you so desperately need. In addition, if your claim is originally denied, you are entitled to file an appeal, but there are time limits that apply. An appeal can be even more complicated. By hiring an attorney in the first place, you reduce the chance that your claim will be denied, and you know that you already have an attorney on your side if it is.
- Follow your treatment recommendations. Many things in your workers’ compensation case will be affected if you do not follow the treatment recommendation given by your doctors. Non-compliance could result in a reduction or termination of your benefits. In addition, if you eventually find yourself in a position where you need to file for permanent disability benefits, your failure to follow the recommended treatment could negatively impact your permanent disability claim. Of course, if you have a valid reason for objecting to a course of treatment, discuss your objections with your attorney.
If you have been injured at work and believe that you may be entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits, contact the workplace injury lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., by calling 800-367-0871 or by using our online contact form.