While recent decades have seen increased efforts to improve worker safety, construction jobs remain some of the most dangerous in any industry, and injuries and fatal accidents are alarmingly common. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2017 one in five employee fatalities in the private sector were in construction.
A high risk of injury coupled with the often intense pressure to show up to work in order to keep the job also put construction workers at the center of the ongoing opioid crisis. The Boston Globe recently reported on findings by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that almost one-fourth of opioid-related deaths among workers were in construction.
The hazards faced daily by workers in this industry make it essential that they know that workers’ compensation benefits may be available to help them cope with medical costs and make up for a portion of their lost wages.
What is workers’ compensation?
Under Massachusetts law, all employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Injured workers may be able to access specific benefits through this coverage, including the following:
- Payments for the cost of medical treatment and prescriptions
- Vocational rehabilitation assistance for those who cannot return to their former job
- Temporary disability payments that provide partial wage compensation during recovery
- Permanent disability, a monetary award for those who cannot work due to serious injury
What is the claim process?
After seeking medical care, an injured worker should report the injury to their employer as soon as possible, preferably in writing. Once an employer receives a report, it must provide a claim form to the employee, who is then responsible for filing the claim with the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Injured workers should file a workers’ compensation claim as quickly as possible. Even seemingly simple claims must often follow a strict, sometimes confusing process. Those seeking benefits may want to consult with an experienced attorney who may be able to help ensure that the employee receives much-needed benefits.