The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide Massachusetts employees with benefit payments in the event that they are injured while on the job. This program covers a wide variety of injuries, including sudden accidents like broken bones and more long-term injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Some particularly severe injuries unfortunately may result in a permanent loss of function of a particular body part. Brockton workers’ compensation lawyer Robert C. Shea can help you determine whether your injury qualifies for a permanent loss of function benefit payment and seek the full amount of benefits that you deserve.
Bringing a Claim for Benefits Based on a Permanent Loss of Function
Massachusetts requires virtually every employer to carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy. The goal of the workers’ compensation system is to provide injured employees with benefits to compensate them for lost wages, medical expenses, and other incidental costs associated with the accident. The amount of wages that the employee will receive is calculated according to a pre-set scale that evaluates the nature and scope of the injury. A physician will determine whether the injury is temporary or permanent and whether it is partial or total. During the examination, it is also a good idea to mention any loss of function that you are experiencing. The doctor will note this in a medical report, which will then be used when considering whether you may be entitled to loss of function benefits.
If a work-related injury resulted in a scar or permanent disfigurement that has a drastic impact on both your physical appearance and your functionality, you may be eligible for loss of function benefits. In many cases, this type of injury will require multiple surgeries or even rehabilitation. There is often no guarantee that the full range of motion or use will be restored. Although a loss of function injury may happen in almost any situation, they commonly arise from explosions, fires, machinery malfunctions, misuse of power tools, chemical burns, severe falls, or falling equipment. An employee who suffers a loss of function injury may receive an additional amount of financial compensation beyond the benefits provided for lost wages and medical care.
The payment will be provided as a single lump sum, and it is calculated according to a set formula. The formula multiplies Massachusetts’ average weekly wage at the time that the injury happened by a factor reflecting the severity of the injury. It is not uncommon for an insurer to attempt to downplay the severity of an injury to keep payments low. This is why it is critical to have an experienced legal professional guiding you through the process.
Pursuing Benefits for Scarring and Disfigurement
Employees across several industries face a risk of scarring and disfigurement, which may happen because of oil and gas explosions, power tool malfunctions, toppled equipment, electrical or chemical burns, industrial machinery malfunctions, falling pallets or equipment, and slaughterhouse injuries, among other examples.
After you have been involved in an accident that causes scarring or disfigurement, you may receive a lump-sum payment from your employer’s insurance carrier. In 1991, an amendment to the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system limited the benefits that workers who suffer only scars may receive, covering only scars on the hands, neck, and face. The amendment also specified which non-scar-based disfigurement injuries may qualify for benefits, including the use of a cane or a prosthetic device as well as a limp. The injured employee will be required to submit several pieces of evidence to support their claim, including a physician’s report. The report must describe the disfigurement, its length, and width, whether it results in discoloration, the percentage of loss of function associated with the injury, and an assessment of the injury’s estimated duration. If a loss of function is associated with the disfigurement, an additional benefit award will be calculated.
Retain a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in the Brockton Area
At The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, P.C., our dedicated team provides each client with the personalized and compassionate legal counsel that they deserve. If you are facing a permanent disfigurement or loss of function as a result of a job-related injury, Brockton workers’ compensation attorney Robert C. Shea is prepared to help you navigate the claims process. He represents injured employees throughout Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth Counties, including in Stoughton, North Easton, and South Easton. Call us at 508-506-5681 or contact us online for a free consultation with a work injury lawyer.