For over sixty years Sheff Law has been a leading firm in defending the rights of victims injured in the workplace. In Massachusetts, when a worker sustains an injury while working the course and scope of his or her employment, they become entitled to a number of different types of benefits pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Statute. This includes both minor as well as catastrophic injuries that happen at factories, building construction sites, retail establishments and all manner of worksites. Lesser known, however, is the fact that, in many instances, when a person is injured at work and becomes entitled to workers compensation benefits, they may also have the ability and legal right to a personal injury claim against an outside or “third” party whose negligence caused in the incident that led to the worker’s injury.
Although under the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Statute a worker is not legally allowed to file a lawsuit against his or her direct employer for injuries that occur on the job, very often, there may be so-called “third parties” responsible for the injury. It is these parties against whom the injured worker may pursue a personal injury claim, in addition to the workers compensation claim. A simple example of this situation is where a person is a driver for a living and while they are working, driving for their company, they are struck and injured by an individual driving another vehicle. In such cases, the driver will have the right to pursue a workers compensation claim with their employer’s workers compensation insurer and also may pursue a personal injury claim or file a lawsuit against the individual who caused the accident. In the many years that Sheff Law has been handling personal injury claims, we have become experts in identifying any and all potential third party claims. Many such claims may not be apparent to less experienced attorneys and employees as they may involve defective products, general contractor or subcontractor negligence and a variety of other obscure potential third parties.
Although the Massachusetts workers compensation statute precludes the employee from suing their own employer, there are exceptions to this rule. Most notable of these exceptions is the situation where one’s employer fails to have workers compensation insurance or fails to register as a self-insurer as required by the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Statute. In such cases, the employee may file suit against his or her employer in the judicial court system as opposed to the Industrial Accident Board, the administrative body responsible for overseeing all claims arising out of work accidents in Massachusetts.
It is only with the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney that the injured worker will be able to protect their rights and pursue all available claims.