Neck injuries are common in many kinds of jobs. Many neck injuries are caused by overexertion, but some are caused by repetitive stress, such as repeatedly lifting heavy loads. They can be the result of a single accident, or they can be the result of repetitive performance of tasks. Your risk of sustaining these incidents increases as you age. The construction industry is especially affected by neck injuries, but any workplace that is physically demanding, such as mining or agricultural work, has a greater risk. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Pulgini & Norton can counsel employees in the Boston area on pursuing benefits if they have suffered this type of harm.Massachusetts Benefits for Neck Injuries
People who suffer neck injuries may be disabled for quite a while. Depending on the severity and duration of the injuries, you can potentially apply for temporary total disability benefits, partial disability benefits, or permanent and total disability benefits. These benefits are determined by many factors, including a calculation of your average weekly wage and the extent to which you are disabled. For your first visit to a doctor for work-related neck injuries, your employer is entitled to send you to a preferred provider. However, after that first visit, you can choose the provider from whom you want to receive care.
It is not uncommon for insurers to offer fewer benefits than what a worker with neck injuries believes he or she deserves, or to try to claim that a neck injury is based on a pre-existing condition. If you disagree with any of the insurer's decision, or if the insurer denies your workers' compensation claim outright, you will need to submit your claim to the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA).
The first step of the dispute process with the DIA is a nonbinding conciliation. In this informal step, you and the insurer will meet to try to resolve your benefits-related dispute. Nothing will be firmly decided at conciliation unless both parties agree.
A conference is the next step of the DIA dispute process, and although a judge presides over it, it is not considered formal. If you and the insurer cannot agree, the matter is not settled. A temporary order will be issued indicating whether the insurer must pay compensation. Either you or the insurer can appeal this order within 14 days of the decision's filing date.
After the conference, if either party appeals, a hearing will be held. There, a judge will conduct a formal hearing that is similar to a trial in which witnesses are called and testimony is taken. Either you or the insurer can appeal the administrative judge's hearing decision.
If either party appeals the hearing stage within 30 days, your case goes to the Review Board. Three judges will examine the transcripts of the hearing and hear any legal arguments. At this stage, the previous decision is reversed only when an administrative judge overstepped his or her authority at the hearing stage, made an incorrect determination of law, or decided without justification.Retain a Boston Attorney to Protect Your Rights after a Workplace Accident
At Pulgini & Norton, our workplace accident lawyers may be able to help Boston residents pursue workers' compensation benefits if they have suffered neck injuries on the job. Call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us via our online form for a consultation. We also represent workers' compensation claimants in other Massachusetts communities, such as Somerville, Quincy, and Newton.