Workers' Compensation in Massachusetts
Massachusetts workers' comp (also known as workers' compensation, workmans' comp, and work compensation) gives an injured or sick employee whose injury or illness sprang from his job medical treatment and replacement income, or if the worker passed away, provides income to his dependents. Employers must have workmans' comp coverage for all employees who work more than 16 hours a week (this means that independent contractors are not covered). Job-related accident claims must be filed within certain time limits with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
Certain kinds of workers' compensation issues must be handled by legal representation. These situations may include when your boss is uninsured, underinsured, uncooperative, or when your injury is serious and long term. Legal representation can also be helpful when your claim is challenged or denied. In addition, if your injury results from using a defective product at work, a Massachusetts workmans comp lawyer can help you file suit against the manufacturer.
Illnesses and Injuries Covered Under Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Law
Accidental Physical Injuries
- Slipping, tripping, falling, or other accidents occurring at the workplace fall under workers' compensation.
- Injuries not covered by work compensation law include those that occur while the employee is intoxicated, using drugs, and/or going against an employer's instruction.
- Continual exposure to work conditions that cause an illness, and work that poses certain health hazards. Examples of such conditions include carpel tunnel syndrome, exposure to chemicals that result in lung damage, and hearing loss from loud workplace conditions.
- Death benefits are payable to dependents if the worker dies as a result of his injury or occupational illness.
The Massachusetts Worker's Comp Claims Process
- Notify Your Boss
- Promptly notify your employer of your accident. If you do not tell your boss, you may not get workman's comp benefits, or your benefits may be delayed.
- Get Medical Help Promptly
- File your claim with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents: Your employer should file an Employer's First Report of Injury or Fatality-Form 101 with the Department of Industrial Accidents and with the employer's workmans' comp insurance company within 7 days. If the employer never files a Form 101, the employee may file a Form 110 with the Department of Industrial Accidents. The claim must be filed within 1 year of your injury. If your claim is not filed within 1 year, you may lose your lost wage reimbursement, medical benefits, and/or permanent disability compensation.
- See a Massachusetts work compensation attorney if you need aid or if your claim is denied.
Benefits Received in Massachusetts Under the Workers' Compensation Program
The following workman's comp benefits are available to injured or sick workers in Massachusetts:
- Medical Treatment: Payment for medical treatment (including doctors' bills, hospital bills, and other treatment related to your work injury or illness) are made to your healthcare provider.
- Wage Reimbursement: The employer's insurer, or the employer must compensate the employee for the wages he loses in getting medical treatment for his work injury, traveling to and from the doctor's office and hospital, and time spent in hearings with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Actions.
- Funeral: Funeral expenses up to $3,000.
- Death: Death benefits are paid out to the dependents of workers who die from their work injuries or illnesses. The quantity of death benefits depends on how dependent the employees' dependents are.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: When an employee receives job placement assistance, or formal retraining so that he can make close to the same amount of money that he did prior to his accident. Vocational rehabilitation is possible in Massachusetts through the Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (OEVR).
- Income Benefits in Massachusetts:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD for short): When a worker cannot work because he is undergoing medical treatment for his injury.
- Amount: 60% of your gross average weekly salary before your illness or injury.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (or TPD for short): Payments when a worker has been injured and is restricted medically from doing his pre-accident job, but can do other kinds of work.
- Amount: 75% of the employee's total temporary benefits.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD for short): The job-related illness or injury is so serious that the employee cannot work.
- Amount: 2/3 of the employee's average weekly wage prior to his injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD for short): The worker has reached his maximum medical improvement, and will be able to work again, but not in the same capacity because he has permanent damage from his injury.
- Amount: 60% of the difference between his average weekly wage pre and post accident or the onset of the illness. Weekly benefits paid at the end of temporary total or temporary partial benefits.
Why Hire A Massachusetts Workers' Comp Lawyer?
There are major consequences involved with a workman's compensation claim. As a result, it is important to hire a Massachusetts' workman's comp lawyer to help you with your claim, especially because it may be difficult to prove that you were injured, the severity of your injury, or your boss may be uncooperative, underinsured, or uninsured. In addition, you may find that you have a claim against a third person who was involved in your accident. A Massachusetts workers' comp attorney can help you put together a strategy, track deadlines, and familiarize you with Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents' procedures and policies.
Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Code
Massachusetts General Laws, Workers' Compensation:
- Employers Subject To Workers' Compensation
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 21, Chp.152 §1.
- Covered Employees
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 21, Chp.152 §1.
- Workers' Compensation, Tit 21, Chp.152 §§ 30-35E.
- Claims Procedure
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 21, Chp. 152 § 6.