I was hurt at work in Massachusetts. What should workers’ compensation include?

An Injured Worker in MassachusettsMassachusetts workers’ compensation law covers medical benefits for all injured workers. Beyond that, the answer to your question depends on your specific injury. Massachusetts law provides for different benefits depending on whether your injury is temporary or permanent and whether your injury is partially or totally incapacitating. Additionally, Massachusetts law may provide other benefits if you suffer permanent scarring or disfigurement or if your loved one has died because of a workplace injury or illness.

All Injured Workers Should Receive Medical Benefits

You have the right to receive adequate and reasonable medical care for as long as you require healthcare services. This includes doctors’ appointments, hospitalizations, surgeries, prescription medications, and even mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments. Your employer may decide which healthcare provider you see for your first appointment. After that, you have the right to decide on your own healthcare providers.

While these benefits may be very important to you, they will not compensate you for your lost income.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Based on Your Injury

Compensation for your lost income will depend on whether your injury was permanent or temporary and whether your injury was complete or partial. Specifically, you may recover the following benefits for a:

  • Temporary Total Incapacity Injury. If you are unable to work for six or more days, then you may be eligible to receive 60 percent of your gross average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to your injury. The maximum amount you can receive is equal to the state’s average weekly wage. Benefits may continue for up to 156 weeks.
  • Temporary Partial Incapacity Injury. If you are able to work, but you can’t earn the same amount that you did prior to your injury, then you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits may equal 75 percent of what you would be eligible for if you had a temporary total incapacity injury. Benefits may continue for up to 260 weeks.
  • Permanent Total Incapacity Injury. If you are permanently and completely unable to work, then you may be eligible to receive 66 percent of your gross average weekly wage. The minimum amount you can collect is equal to 20 percent of the state’s average weekly wage and the maximum amount you can collect is equal to the state’s average weekly wage. Benefits may continue for as long as you are disabled.

If you suffer a permanent injury, then you may also be eligible for vocational benefits. Once you are medically stable, you may request a meeting with the Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation to request vocational services so that you can return to meaningful employment.

Additional Workers’ Compensation Benefits May Be Possible for Specific Injuries

In some cases, Massachusetts law allows for the additional recovery of benefits such as when:

  • You suffer scarring, disfigurement, or loss of bodily functions. If the injury occurs on your face, neck, or hands, then you may be able to receive a one-time payment for your injury in addition to the benefits described above. The specific amount of your payment depends on the location and severity of your injury.
  • Your loved one has died from a work-related illness or injury. You may be able to recover survivor benefits if your spouse died because of a work-related illness or injury or if your parent died because of a work-related illness or injury and you are under the age of 18, you are a full-time student, or you unable to work because of a disability. Generally, the benefits include up to 66 percent of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage up to the maximum state average weekly wage. Burial costs may also be covered by workers’ compensation. Restrictions on these benefits do apply and it is important to talk to a workers’ comp lawyer about how the benefits apply to you.

Understanding your workers’ comp benefits is only the first step in your recovery.

The Next Step Is to Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help

The workers’ compensation insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible for your claim. You cannot trust that you will be treated fairly if you negotiate directly with the insurance company. However, if you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you, then you can be sure that your rights will be protected and that a skilled advocate will be working hard to get you the benefits that you deserve.

We understand that money can be tight while you are out of work due to an injury or illness. Our lawyers do not want this to stand in the way of your benefits. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our experienced disability lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation about your rights and about how to protect the benefits you’ve earned.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer