What Does A Workers Comp Lawyer Do?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions on the internet…pertaining to workers compensation cases in Massachusetts. It is also a difficult question to answer. This is because the role of a workers compensation attorney varies case by case.
When an injured workers meets with their prospective attorney for the first time, generally the attorney will use this first meeting to gather as much information as possible about the client and the injury itself. This includes gathering the client’s personal information, educational background, and work history. The attorney will also gather as much information as possible about the injury that occurred and the subsequent medical treatment the injured worker has received.
What the attorney does following this initial meeting largely depends on what has transpired since the injury. Many times, the injured worker is already receiving workers compensation benefits. In other words, the workers comp insurer is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. In situations like this, there may not be much at the attorney has to do. Often time, in situations like these, it is advisable for the attorney to “hang in the background,” rather than immediately file his or her appearance with the Department of Industrial Accidents. Doing this will put the insurer on notice, and how they respond to attorney getting involved is up in the air. They could view this as the employee attempting to file a legal action and respond by preempting and cutting off the employee’s benefits. This happens quite a lot. An attorney would be well advised to avoid doing anything that could jeopardize an employee’s receipt of benefits.
In situations like this, we generally hang in the background and make very clear to the client that it is their responsibility to keep their attorney appraised of any and all development on their case. That way, the attorney can adequately and effectively advise the injured employee going forward. It is important to note that although the attorney may not have technically filed his or her appearance on the case, this is still a very crucial time period in the life of a workers comp case. In fact, what happens during this initial period can often have lasting effects throughout the cases life cycle. Being well advised by an experienced Massachusetts Workers Comp Lawyer during this period can help pave the way for a much smoother process throughout the case.
On the contrary, just as often the injured worker will meet with their attorney and have not received any benefits following their injury. In fact, they may have already received a denial of payment form from the comp insurer. In situations like these, the attorney needs to get involved immediately by filing a claim for benefits with the Department of Industrial Accidents. This is where the attorney gets more personally involved. Filing a claim essentially means going to court to get one of the workers comp judges to order benefits to be paid. These claims are administered through the Department of Industrial Accidents; the workers comp court system. There are 5 locations for the DIA throughout Massachusetts: Boston, Lawrence, Fall River, Worcester and Springfield. Which DIA location your case will be assigned to depends on where you live.
This is where it is crucial to have an experienced Massachusetts workers comp lawyer to represent you. Insurance companies love employees who are either unrepresented (pro se) or represented by a practitioner who does not specialize in this specific field of law. Ensure that your rights are effectively protected by hiring a lawyer who specializes in Massachusetts Workers Compensation Law.
At Troupe Law Office, we have close to 60 years of combined experience between our two attorneys. We specialize in Massachusetts Workers Compensation law and can help ensure that your rights are effectively protected during this crucial period following a work injury.