Workers’ Compensation Benefits In Massachusetts
Understanding Workers’ Comp Benefits
No one really expects to get hurt on the job, but it happens every single day. While some workplace injuries are obvious, such as a broken bone, there are other injuries that take time to show symptoms. For example, repetitive stress injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) and ongoing exposure to harsh chemicals or toxins that cause asthma, cancer, or other long-term and often permanent health conditions.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts are available for workers who are hurt or sickened on the job. These benefits are provided to workers by employers at no cost. Most employers are required to provide these benefits under state law.
Who Investigates Workers’ Compensation Claims?
The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) is a state agency that oversees the workers’ compensation program. They also adjudicate disputed workers’ compensation claims. The DIA recommends that injured employees consult with a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer because of how complicated these claims can be. However, the DIA cannot make referrals to lawyers.
What Benefits Are Available Through Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Program?
There are several workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts. It’s important to remember that they are awarded based on the facts surrounding the claim. In general, they cover all of the medical expenses that are associated with the injury. Workers’ comp also provides wage replacement if the worker is temporarily or permanently disabled from the injury.
For disability benefits, the financial compensation awarded depends on the severity of the disability. In short, whether the worker is partially or totally disabled and whether the disability is temporary or permanent.
Permanent disability means that the worker is totally disabled and can never return to the workforce. A temporary disability means that the worker will eventually be able to return to work.
Massachusetts law determines how much financial compensation a worker will receive if they are disabled:
- Workers who are totally and permanently disabled will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage with a minimum 20% of the state average weekly wage at the time of their injury, and an annual cost of living adjustment for as long as they are disabled.
- Workers who are considered temporarily totally incapacitated will receive around 60% of their average weekly wage from the last year prior to the date of injury for up to 156 weeks. Payment begins on the sixth day of disability unless they cannot work for 21 days or more. Those days aren’t required to be consecutive.
- Workers who are considered partially incapacitated may receive up to 60% of the difference between their average weekly wage and what they can earn with their disability for up to 260 weeks.
The most common benefit associated with workers’ compensation is payment of medical expenses. Medical benefits are available for workers who suffer from either a work-related injury or illness that requires medical attention. The medical benefits are provided for as long as the worker needs them because of the injury or illness.
However, it’s important to note that the insurance company can deny or end treatment if they don’t think that the treatment is reasonable or necessary. If this happens, a worker may appeal through the DIA.
Medical benefits include:
- Medical care
- Reimbursement for what the worker spends out of pocket for prescriptions and treatment
- Reimbursement for mileage for injured workers who must travel to and from their medical appointments
The worker may choose their own medical provider. Additionally, the insurer has the right to have their doctor evaluate the worker.