Massachusetts Workers Compensation: Benefits Employees Can Expect

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Employees in Massachusetts who suffer an illness or an injury arising out of and in course of employment are eligible for weekly compensation benefits during their period of incapacity from work. In addition to common workplace accidents, personal injuries include infectious or contagious diseases if the nature of the employment is such that the hazard of contracting such diseases by an employee is inherent in the employment. State law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and the carriers must provide the benefits for which the employee qualifies based on the nature of the injury and the resulting incapacity from work.

Benefits Employees Can Expect

Temporary Disability Benefits
Injured workers who are unable to work for six days or more are entitled to weekly compensation benefits. They are entitled to receive 60 percent of their average weekly wage and are eligible to receive these benefits for up to three years, or 156 weeks.

Partial Disability Benefits
If a worker has a partial incapacity to work as the result of a work related accident, meaning that he can work a reduced number of hours or at a lower paying job due, he is entitled to receive compensation for his partial incapacity. The law provides that while the incapacity for work resulting from the injury is partial, during each week of incapacity the insurer shall pay the injured employee a weekly compensation equal to sixty percent of the difference between his or her average weekly wage before the injury and the weekly wage he or she is capable of earning after the injury, but not more than seventy-five percent of what such employee would receive if he or she were eligible for total incapacity benefits.

For example, an employee with an average weekly wage of $1,000 a week who has to go from a 40 hour week to a 30 hour week would only be earning $750, and would therefore be eligible to receive 60% of the difference between his average weekly wage of $1,000 and the $750 he is now capable of earning. He would be entitled to 60% of $250, or $150 per week. Since the worker would be eligible to receive $600 a week if he were total incapacitated, he would be eligible for a maximum partial benefit rate of 75% of that figure, or $450, per week.

Permanent and Total Disability Benefits
Employees who are permanently and totally disabled due to an injury arising out of and in the course of employment and who cannot return to a “non-trifling” job are entitled to receive 2/3 of their average weekly wage for as long as they remain disabled, up to a maximum rate calculated annually by the Department of Industrial Accidents.

Medical Treatment
Massachusetts workers’ compensation law provides that the insurer must pay for a worker’s reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the injury or accident. This includes prescriptions and compensation for travel to and from medical treatment visits.

One Time Payments for Loss of Function, Scarring and Disfigurement
Massachusetts law provides an additional one time payment of compensation for disfigurements of the body and for scars to the face and hands, as well as for any permanent loss of function.

Vocational Retraining
If appropriate, workers in the workers’ compensation system are eligible for vocational retraining, administered by the Department of Industrial Accidents and covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

With half of all injured worker claims disputed, having a legal counsel is recommended. Seek only lawyers that are well versed in the complexity of the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts, like those from the Law Offices of Terrence A. Low and Anthony J. Canata.

Sources:
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claims: Eligibility, Filing and Appeals, Disability Secrets
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Guide For Injured Workers, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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