Anyone who is injured while on the job is covered by Workers’ Compensation. The statute which governs Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation is M.G.L. c. 152. Workers’ Compensation is insurance which pays workers who are injured in the course of employment. It is required of most employers in the state. If an employer does not provide coverage, then the worker has the right to make a claim against the state administered Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund.
If someone is totally disabled due to an on the job injury, then he or she receives 60% of his or her pre-injury wage. The pre-injury wage is based on an average of gross earnings prior to the injury. These benefits can last for a total of three years.
If someone is partially disabled then he or she is entitled to 60% of the difference between the pre-injury wage and the worker’s earnings. These benefits can last for a total of five years.
A worker can only collect total disability and partial disability for a maximum of seven years.
If a worker cannot return to any work whatsoever, then the worker can be entitled to permanent and total disability benefits. These benefits are paid at two-thirds of the worker’s pre-injury wage. These benefits can run for a worker’s lifetime.
An injured worker is entitled to full payment for all medical treatment which is reasonable, necessary and related to the on the job accident. There are certain standards, which may restrict an employee’s treatment but workers will be able to receive medical care. Injured workers do have the right to choose their own doctor for medical treatment.
The workers’ compensation statute provides payment for scarring or disfigurement on the employee’s face, neck, or hands. If a worker suffers permanent loss of function to a body part then he or she can collect payment in addition to the weekly check.
Workers’ Compensation cases can be resolved via settlement. Before a settlement can be approved it must be agreed upon by the insurance company, the worker (and his or her attorney) and often times the employer.
If a case settles, then the worker is giving up all monetary rights for his injury. Many times a worker’s right to future medical treatment is kept open. In addition, the worker’s right to be considered for retraining can remain open for two years post-settlement.
There are two possible ways an attorney can get paid on a worker’s compensation case. First, if the case is filed at the Department of Industrial Accidents, the insurance company is required to pay the Attorney’s fee (if the employee is successful). If the worker loses, no fee is received. The second way an Attorney can get paid is once the case is settled. If the case settles with the medicals remaining open, then the Attorney is entitled to charge up to 20% of the settlement as a fee. If the case settles with the medicals closed out, then the Attorney is entitled to charge up to 15% of the settlement. Our representation of injured workers includes determining whether other claims exist. For example, some on the job injuries are caused or partly caused by a third party. This opens the door for additional claims which the Attorneys at Law Office of Robert C. Shea, P.C. can assist with.