This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. And at least one-third struggles to cover basic expenses, such as food, rent, and other financial obligations. These challenges aren’t only among people who earn less than the average median income.
Just one financial setback can completely disrupt a person and their family members’ livelihoods. One of the worst-case scenarios for these families is a serious injury to a household’s primary income earner.
However, if a household’s primary earner is injured, they might have legal options available to get them much-needed compensation.
Options Depend on How the Primary Earner Is Injured
How the primary earner was injured plays a big part in determining the legal options they and their family have available. In general, we can classify most injuries as either work-related or non-work-related.
If the Primary Earner Is Injured While Working
Workers’ compensation might help.
When a household’s primary earner is injured at work or while doing their job, they might be eligible for workers’ compensation. Eligibility depends on whether the employer has workers’ compensation insurance (which are most employers in Massachusetts), and whether the injured person is covered by that employer’s policy.
If the primary earner is eligible for workers’ compensation, they can receive a portion of their income (about 66%) while they are unable to work, and their medical expenses will be covered. Though that does offer a household some relief, it’s obviously a significant drop in income that could make life difficult.
Third-party liability claims could be an option in some cases.
Injured workers can sometimes pursue compensation through third-party liability claims. That applies both to workers who receive workers’ compensation and those who don’t qualify for these benefits.
Third-party liability claims are essentially personal injury claims through which workers seek to hold a third party—property owners, product manufacturers, drivers, etc.—accountable for the injury-related costs they face after being injured while performing work duties. One benefit of these claims is that they can potentially pay out far more in compensation compared to workers’ compensation benefits.
If someone gets workers’ comp and also files a third-party liability claim, they’ll likely need to pay back the workers’ comp benefits they received through a process known as subrogation once they receive their third-party benefits, as there are laws that prevent people from “double dipping” and getting compensation from two sources for the same injury.
If the Primary Earner Was Injured in Accident Unrelated to Work
When the primary earner is injured due to someone else’s negligence (and the injury is not work-related), then personal injury claims offer the earner and the household the opportunity to hold the at-fault party responsible for the costs they face.
A few examples of personal injury claims include:
- Vehicle accidents
- Premises liability accidents (slips and falls, negligent security, dog bites, etc.)
- Product liability claims (defective devices or dangerous prescription/over-the-counter drugs)
- Medical malpractice
In these claims, the compensation provided to the injured party (which includes medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering) is usually paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
In Massachusetts, there’s a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, but that doesn’t mean you should wait three years to take legal action. Typically, it’s best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the injury occurs, so the lawyer can advise their client on the steps to take (and things to avoid) to maximize the compensation they’ll receive.
If Your Household’s Primary Earner Gets Injured, We Can Help
At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we’ve represented many clients who were primary earners in their households, and are now struggling to pay bills while they are unable to earn paychecks. Our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers can help you determine the best path forward to compensation through a free consultation
Contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today to get started with a free case assessment. There’s No Obligation, Just Information ®