Massachusetts workers’ compensation: Understanding your benefits

When you are injured as a result of an accident at work, develop an illness because of exposure to a dangerous chemical or are diagnosed with a repetitive injury from your job the future may seem full of uncertainty. You likely wonder how you are going to pay for the medical costs associated with the injury and what you are going to do if you are unable to work.

Every employer in Massachusetts is required to have workers' compensation insurance. Furthermore, the law also requires that your employer report your work injury to their workers' compensation insurance company. If you are unable to work for five days or more, the injury must be brought to the attention of the DIA in order for you to receive further benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits

There are four basic types of workers' comp benefits and these benefits depend on the severity of work injury that you have. These benefits are:

  • Medical - Medical care for your injury is completely covered under workers' compensation benefits so you generally don't need to worry about doctors' bills or hospital expenses piling up.
  • Temporary total incapacity - Under this benefit, you can receive 60 percent of your weekly income, but this only applies if you are going to be out of work for more than five days.
  • Partial incapacity - If you have suffered a work injury or illness that leaves you unable to do the same job or work the same amount of hours then you could receive up to 75 percent of what you would receive under the temporary total incapacity benefit. However this benefit is limited in how long you can receive it.
  •  Permanent and total incapacity - this is a permanent disability benefit and will provide you with a portion of your weekly income.
  • Permanent loss of function and disfigurement - This is a one-time payment that is made if you lose body function permanently or are disfigured on a visible part of your body such as your hands, neck, or face.
  • Survivors' and dependents - If your work injury is a fatal one, your surviving spouse and minor children can be entitled to a continued portion of your weekly income. There are certain conditions that they must meet in order for them to show that they are dependent on this benefit.

Applying for benefits

In order to receive benefits for a work injury or illness, you need to submit a claim. Failing to provide the necessary information or filling out the form wrong could result in a denial. Moreover, if your injury is a serious one and is being disputed then you will likely have to appear before a panel of judges to show why your claim should be approved.

Dealing with workers' compensation benefits can be extremely complicated, contact an attorney experienced in workers' compensation to protect right to recovery.