Can You Sue Your Employer in Massachusetts For A Workers Compensation Accident?
Many times I receive this question from new clients. It is a reasonable question as one would assume you may sue your employer in Massachusetts for a workers compensation accident. Certain times you can sue your employer, but in Massachusetts, you may not for a workers compensation accident. What you may do is pursue a claim for workers compensation benefits with your employer’s insurance company.
The Massachusetts workers compensation statutory framework issues many advantages to injured workers (you can recover benefits even if you are at fault; speedy judicial resolution). However, with these advantages comes the disadvantage of not being able to sue your employer.
A Third-Party Negligence Case Can Be Brought
Although you cannot sue your employer for a work injury, you may sue a third-party if they were responsible for your injuries. The third-party claim is a claim for negligence against the third-party person or company. However, if you recover compensation from a third-party, the workers compensation insurance company has the right to be paid back. Whether it be a third-party case arising from a car accident, slip and fall, or any other kind of personal injury case, the law still allows you to a third-party claim.
The Process Of Resolving The Workers Compensation Lien
If the third-party case does settle, the workers compensation wages and medical benefits paid by the insurance company must be paid back. This is referred to as a lien. The law on this topic makes clear that the lien must be reduced by 1/3 to take into account the fact that the claimant (the injured worker bringing the workers third-party case) has to pay his/her attorney 1/3 as a legal fee. Once the lien is worked out, a section 15 petition must be filed and approved by either a Superior Court judge, or Administrative Law Judge, at the Department of Industrial Accidents.
A Boston Workers Compensation and Third Party Attorney That Can Help You
If you need help with either a workers compensation, or third-party claim, I encourage you to contact us today. We only get paid if your case settles and we always offer completely free, no-obligation consultations.