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Know your workers’ compensation rights in Massachusetts

The workplace is the backbone of American society and where millions of Americans earn their livings. Unfortunately, many careers and employers subject their workers to dangerous environments, tools of trade and procedures in order to get work done.  It can be as simple as a fall from a platform during construction, or something more complex like developing tinnitus after frequenting a loud work environment with inadequate or deficient ear protection. Regardless of the type of injury or severity, as a worker, you have rights.

Workers’ compensation is right to continue earning money despite being unable to perform your work duties. Employees and their loved ones have the right to workman’s compensation for injuries sustained while on the job that cause death, partial or total disability, and disfigurement or loss of function (such as permanent scars). In Massachusetts, workers are entitled to 60% of their weekly wage in disability payments.

Expectation of safety

In addition to providing proper compensation for workers injured while on the job, employers – big or small – are required to upkeep a safe working environment and to implement adequate safety protocols when performing dangerous work is unavoidable.  Overseen and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor, these strictly-enforced regulations help ensure that employers keep the safety of their employees paramount, and do everything possible to prevent avoidable deaths on the job site.

A recent example of negligence leading to a serious work injury happened on Oct. 31 in Wareham. An employee for HiWay Safety Systems was trapped between a docking bay and the bumper of a tractor trailer truck, causing severe head trauma and his eventual death. The incident has since been labeled as a tragic, avoidable death by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MassCOSH).  The victim left behind a wife and two sons, who will have to deal with the emotional turmoil and financial distress of losing a husband, a father, and a breadwinner. The tragic event is now under investigation by OSHA, state, and local authorities.

It should be known that any worker asked to perform a duty that can be reasonably, in good faith, seen as overly hazardous maintains the right to refuse that work. In such a situation, employees should alert their employers of their concern and either ask for different work or ask that the hazards be adequately corrected. If the hazard is not corrected or the employer threatens retaliatory action for not performing the work, the employer should contact OSHA immediately. The worker would also have the right to legal representation.

Let us help fight for you

Collecting workers’ compensation in Massachusetts and utilizing OSHA to ensure an employer takes responsibility for their negligence is only some of the steps you may take. For somebody injured while on the job, it is essential that they are able to pay their bills and continue to support their loved ones while being unable to work.

This is where the legal experts of Altman & Altman LLP come into play. We will ensure that any employer, manufacturer or other third party liable for a workplace accident faces the proper responsibility and that you get the money you need, and are entitled to, in order to continue living your life.  For over 40 years, Altman & Altman, LLP has successfully represented injured workers and their families with workers’ compensation claims and disputes against employees and insurance companies in the Greater Boston Area, as well as throughout Massachusetts. Our work injury lawyers are available around the clock to answer your questions or to provide you a free case consultation. Call us today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.

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