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Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Bristol County Attorney Representing People in Workers’ Compensation Claims

People who get sick or hurt while working are often unable to earn an income and worry about how they will make ends meet. Fortunately, many individuals who sustain harm at work are able to recover benefits from their employers’ workers’ compensation insurers. Not everyone is entitled to such benefits, though, and in some instances, employers will try to avoid paying employees the benefits they are rightfully owed. If you were injured at work, it is prudent to speak to an attorney regarding your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. James K. Meehan of the Law Office of James K. Meehan is a seasoned Bristol County workers’ compensation lawyer who can inform you of your rights and help you to pursue the full amount of benefits you may be entitled to recover. Mr. Meehan often represents people in workers’ compensation lawsuits in Bristol County and in Plymouth and Norfolk Counties.

People who Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits is defined by statute. Specifically, under Massachusetts Workers Compensation Act (the Act), an employer must pay workers’ compensation benefits to an employee for a personal injury that arises in the course of and out of employment. Under the Act, anyone who works in the service of another person or entity under any contract of hire is considered an employee. The contract may be implied or express, written or oral. There are some exceptions to this rule, including independent contractors, some salespeople, volunteers, and in some instances, students, professional athletes, and officers and directors of companies.

Generally, under Massachusetts law, people who work for someone else are presumed to be employees rather than independent contractors unless there is sufficient evidence to prove otherwise. Determining a worker’s status requires the courts to conduct a fact-driven analysis. The courts will evaluate numerous elements, such as the duration of employment, who supplies any tools used in the performance of job duties, and whether they are paid on an hourly basis or receive a salary. They will also assess whether the employer or worker controls the method of work and whether the parties believed an employment relationship existed.

Injuries Establishing Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Only employees that demonstrate a causal relationship between their employment and their injuries will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In other words, they must show by a preponderance of the evidence that an injury arose out of and during employment and that the injury caused the employee to suffer an incapacity to work for at least five days. The preponderance of the evidence is a burden of proof which means that something is more likely than not to be true.

The definition of injuries includes not only bodily harm but also occupational illnesses. Mental and emotional disabilities may be considered injuries as well in certain circumstances. Additionally, the exacerbation of pre-existing conditions and harm that occurs while an employee is on the employer’s premises but not performing work duties may also be considered injuries.

Certain harm is not compensable, however, like injuries that occur while an employee is traveling to or from work and those that arise out of voluntary participation in a sport or party. Further, an employee that suffers work-related harm due to his or her own willful and serious misconduct may be deemed ineligible to recover benefits as well.

Meet with an Experienced Bristol County Attorney

Many people are unjustly denied workers’ compensation benefits by their employers or their employer’s insurance companies. If you have concerns regarding your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. James K. Meehan of the Law Office of James K. Meehan is an experienced lawyer who is dedicated to helping injured workers seek any benefits they may be owed, and if you hire him, he can aid you through the process of filing your claim or appealing a denial. Mr. Meehan’s office is located in Taunton, and he frequently represents injured parties in workers’ compensation claims in Bristol County and also in Plymouth and Norfolk Counties. You can reach Mr. Meehan by calling 508-822-6600 or via the online form to set up a confidential and complimentary meeting.

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