You spend 40+ hours a week at work. No matter what your profession is, everyone works hard to increase profits for their employers. But God forbid, if you meet with an accident at the workplace, will your job work equally hard to keep you floating?
Labor and workers’ compensation laws give you the legal ground to seek compensation from your employer in case of an injury at the worksite. All employers must abide by strict federal and state laws that provide financial and medical coverage in construction accidents.
The compensation value and benefits vary depending on the nature of the injury. Visit Bellotti Law here to know more about Massachusetts’s workers’ compensation benefits. While the law is there, more often than not, employees complain about the foul play on the part of their employers, and it leaves them in a helpless situation.
So, it’s crucial to know your legal rights as a construction worker. Read on to find out about workers’ compensation – who pays, what the benefits are, and how long the perks are valid for.
Employees’ Compensation Rights – The Basics
Also known as ‘workers comp,’ it is a mandatory insurance every employer has to buy for all its employees to handle a workplace accident that disables a person from working and drawing wages. It covers various injuries, from the classic slip and fall to a more grave (possibly life-threatening) injury. In most cases, employees get fair compensation irrespective of who was at fault. Since it is a kind of insurance that your employer gets for you, you cannot sue them in the event of an injury (only if you claim compensation from them).
What Types of Injuries Does Workers Comp Cover (or not)?
Before you put in a comp claim with your employer, know what injuries does this law cover. Fortunately, it is quite an exhaustive list of injuries and covers basically anything that happens at a worksite due to your employer’s negligence.
However, the compensation does not cover self-injury, accidents that happen due to the worker’s negligence or not following company safety policies, and if the accident did not occur at work. Some companies also add other statutes of limitations like drug and alcohol tests and can deny compensation if they can prove that the employee was under the influence before/during the accident.
List of Expenses that you can (And Cannot) Claim Under the Law
Here’s a list of the common expenses that the insurance covers.
- Your medical bills (including surgery and care)
- Any replacement income/wage that is comparable to your actual income
- Any retraining costs that you have to bear because of the injury
- If you suffered permanent injuries, the insurance covers that as well
- In case of workplace death, it gives financial benefits to nominees of the deceased
If you choose to claim compensation, please remember that you cannot sue your employer. While the list of expenses is pretty exhaustive, it does not cover emotional suffering and pain.
About Wage Replacement
You can claim only two-thirds of your average wage as a replacement, and even this amount has an upper limit. Please check with the state law website to know the amount before filing for compensation. While this may seem like a modest figure, it is free from any taxes, and you are eligible for wage replacement after missing only a few days of work due to the injury.
What about Long-Term/Permanent Injuries?
Yes, workers comp covers not just short-term, accidental injuries, but also permanent or long-term injuries/disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome (due to repetitive hand movements), etc.
Who is (or not) Eligible for Compensation?
While most employees come under the benefits of the compensation insurance, there are some exceptions. These include –
- Self-employed businessmen
- Independent contractors
- Farmer and farm support staff
- Marine professionals
- Railway employees
- Casual workers
Accidents can happen anywhere, but it often has life-threatening consequences if you work in the construction industry and meet with a workplace accident.
If you feel your employer has not given you fair compensation or think the extent of damages is way too much compared to the settlement, you can file a lawsuit against your employer. However, you will have to give up your compensation claim benefits to do this. Consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to weigh your chances of winning the case properly before deciding to do so.