What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Claim?
Experienced Boston Attorney for Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you believe that you were hurt on the job, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine your legal options and what types of workers’ compensation benefits you can claim.
Massachusetts law puts time limits on when you can bring your claim, which means that you could waive your right to benefits and medical expense reimbursement if you do not act promptly.
Our compassionate team of Boston legal professionals will assist you with all aspects of the claims process for permanent and total disability benefits, including understanding your legal rights and securing the outcome that you deserve.
Permanent and Total Disability Benefits
Skilled Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Serving Boston, MA
The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is designed to provide injured workers with benefits and reimbursement for medical expenses when they are injured on the job.
The system seems relatively straightforward, but the claims process can be complex, especially when there are serious injuries involved. That’s where a seasoned Boston workers’ compensation attorney can help.
At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates PC, we have represented countless injured workers in workers’ compensation claims and helped them fight for the fair treatment and outcomes that they deserve. We know how important these benefits and reimbursements are to you and your family, especially if your injuries are permanent and will have a lasting impact on your job prospects.
Bringing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Massachusetts
The Department of Industrial Accidents is the state agency that oversees workers’ compensation claims. It assigns administrative law judges to review claims and to make decisions about whether the applicant is entitled to benefits.
Massachusetts requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance regardless of the number of hours that an employee works during any given week with some exceptions. If you are injured on the job, it is important that you notify your employer immediately and seek prompt medical attention.
Types of Compensable Injuries
- Head Trauma & Broken Bones
- Some injuries are obvious like sudden head traumas or broken bones.
- Wear and Tear Injuries
Other types of compensable injuries include wear and tear injuries that accrue over a long period of time, usually from performing repetitive movements such as factory line work.
In either instance, the judge will review whether there is enough evidence to show that your injury was causally related to your employment duties. This can be more difficult in claims involving wear-and-tear injuries because the injury did not result from a singular, identifiable event.
Another complexity that commonly arises relates to pre-existing injuries. If you suffer from a pre-existing injury or medical condition and the injury affects the same body part or condition, you must show that the injury was the prevailing cause of your worsened symptoms. An experienced work injury lawyer can help you navigate the complications that can come up relative to this kind of claim.
How Is the Permanent and Total Disability Benefits Claiming Process in Massachusetts?
Once you file your claim, you will be asked to undergo a medical examination to evaluate your injury.
The physician will evaluate whether your injury is temporary or permanent and whether it is partial or total. This information will then be used to determine the amount and duration of your benefits as well as the scope of medical treatment that you are eligible to receive as reimbursable treatment.
Permanent and total disability benefits, also referred to as Section 34A benefits, are awarded to employees who have suffered the most severe type of harm on the job. In order to be awarded this level of benefits, medical experts must conclude that you are unable to perform any type of employment, including the same job that you had at the time you were injured.
Employees suffering from permanent and total disability are eligible to receive benefits in the amount of 60% of their average weekly wages. The average is calculated based on the 52-week period prior to the injury. There are some minimum and maximum limits that may impact the calculation, which the Massachusetts legislature modifies every year in October.
The employee will also be eligible to receive reimbursement for reasonable medical care associated with the injury, including prescription medications and mileage reimbursement for medical appointments.
Temporary and Total Disability Benefits
The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide injured workers with a way to maintain their income to some degree while they cope with painful injuries that prevent them from working at their usual capacity.
The claims process can be complex, and there are many phases that you must complete before your benefits will be awarded. This includes everything from submitting to an independent medical examination to testifying about how your injury has impacted your professional and personal lives.
At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates PC, we have aided numerous workers with navigating the workers’ compensation system and pursuing the temporary or permanent benefit award that they deserve.
A skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer at our office can potentially assist you with all aspects of the claims process, including gathering evidence, locating doctors, and dealing with insurance companies.
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation System
If you suffer an injury during the course and scope of your job, then you are entitled to benefits to help offset your missed wages and medical expenses.
The workers’ compensation system applies to a variety of injuries, including
- sudden physical injuries
- injuries that result from long-term repetitive motions like working on an assembly line
- psychological damages that result from the work environment or that are associated with the injury that you sustained.
If you believe that you suffered a work-related injury, it is important that you notify your employer as soon as possible so that they can begin the claims process.
Massachusetts requires every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance. After the employer has notified its insurance carrier, you may be asked to submit medical records showing treatment that you have received for the injury including emergency room visits, specialists’ appointments, and surgical records.
If you have undergone physical therapy to correct your injury, these records will be important as well because they will show whether you are improving to your pre-accident condition. An experienced work injury lawyer can help you assemble the necessary documentation for your claim.
Claiming Temporary and Total Disability Benefits
Once your report your injury, your employer’s insurer may accept liability for the injury immediately, which would entitle you to receive benefit payments.
Massachusetts law provides temporary total incapacity benefits to workers who must take five days off from work due to the injury. The rules state that an employee will not be paid for the first five days of disability leave unless he or she needs to take more than 21 days off from work.
You will continue to receive these benefits until your condition improves so that you can return to work or until you have received three years’ worth of payments.
The payment amount that you receive under a temporary and total disability benefits award is 60% of your average weekly wages, but Massachusetts laws have caps on how much a worker can receive that are updated each year in October.
After you complete your initial course of medical treatment, a doctor will evaluate you to determine whether you have returned to your pre-injury condition.
If you are capable of returning to work but cannot perform the same job duties resulting in a lower wage, you are entitled to receive temporary partial incapacity benefits. This amounts to 60% of the difference between what your wages were before the injury and what you are capable of earning now.
A worker can receive these benefits until he or she returns to his or her pre-injury condition and earning capacity or for five years. The payment duration is increased to 10 years in situations where the worker suffers a 75% loss of function in the injured body part such as a limb or an eye.
Meet with a Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Massachusetts
When you are trying to deal with the pain and inconvenience of a work-related injury, it can seem impossible to also navigate the workers’ compensation claims process if you are seeking temporary and total disability benefits. This is especially true if you have never filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits before, which is the case for many injured workers.
Our seasoned team of Massachusetts legal professionals offers a free consultation to help you learn more about the claims process and whether a skilled attorney at our office can assist you in seeking the benefits that you deserve. Schedule your free consultation today!
Partial Disability Benefits
Massachusetts Attorney for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Representing injured workers, we have seen firsthand just how devastating it can be to get hurt on the job. Some injuries that happen at work cause temporary injuries that can be addressed through medical treatment and time to heal. Other injuries result in permanent disabilities that leave the worker with a lifetime of pain and limitations.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits is to tell your employer about your injury as soon as you think it has occurred.
Your employer will then notify its workers’ compensation insurer. Even from the early stages of the matter, having a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer at your side to ensure that you are being treated fairly and that the insurance company is playing by the rules can help you protect your rights.
Seeking Benefits in Massachusetts
Whether your injury is due to a sudden accident or the result of repetitive ongoing tasks, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system provides benefits that are intended to replace your missed wages while you heal and cope with your injury. It also provides reimbursement for reasonable and necessary medical expenses that you incurred as a result of the injury.
The amount of benefits that you receive will be determined based on two factors:
Duration of Injury
First, the duration of your injury, such as whether it is temporary or permanent will be considered.
Severity of Injury
Second, the severity of your injury, meaning whether it only impacts a portion of your body or whether it is a total injury, is significant in this analysis.
Once you have filed your claim for work injury benefits, you will be required to go to a medical examination performed by an independent doctor. The doctor will address these two factors during the exam and prepare a report that includes his or her conclusions about whether your injury is temporary or permanent and whether it is partial or total.
If you disagree with the doctor’s conclusions, there are ways that you can contest them and ask for another examination.
You are also allowed to offer medical records and testimony from doctors who treated you for your injuries either before or after you filed the claim.
It is important to be honest during the independent medical examination and to tell the truth about your pain, physical limitations, and whether you feel like you can return to work.
Partial Disability Benefits
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development is in charge of determining the amount of benefits that a worker can receive.
Each year, the Office creates a schedule that lists the maximum amount of benefits that a worker can get as well as the formula for determining the amount of benefits you are entitled to receive based on the average weekly wage you made during the year leading up to your injury.
If the doctor concludes that you have suffered a partial injury, you are eligible to receive partial disability benefits in the amount of 60% of what you would have received as a weekly wage before the injury.
If, for example, you earned an average of $400 per week, your maximum weekly benefit would be 60% of that figure, or roughly $240. There are some exceptions and modifications that apply to this calculation, which is why it is critical to consult with an experienced work injury attorney to ensure that you are being treated fairly. For example, an injured worker with a partial disability is eligible to receive payments for 260 weeks, but this can be extended to 520 weeks in cases where a severe work injury occurred.
Our Committed Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Massachusetts Can Help
Many injured workers make the decision to file a claim without a lawyer assisting them. Although you are not required to have an attorney helping you, the claims process for partial disability benefits and other forms of workers’ compensation is incredibly complicated and there are countless rules that must be followed by you and other parties in order for you to receive benefits and medical expense reimbursements.
We provide a free consultation so that you can learn more about our services and whether you should file a claim for benefits. Schedule an appointment today!
Speak with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Boston
If you were hurt at work, we are ready to answer your questions and to help you determine whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There are many different types of injuries that may qualify for benefit payments and reimbursements, so even if you are unsure about whether you are eligible, it is critical that you explore your potential rights.
We have provided legal counsel to workers and their families in the areas around Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Newton, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, and Peabody.
We provide a free consultation to help you learn more about the legal system and how we can assist you. Call us now at (800) 262-9200 or contact us online to get started if you have been injured in a slip and fall, a motor vehicle collision, an encounter with a dangerous or defective product, or another accident on the job.