THE TOP MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION REGARDING WORKER’S COMPENSATION AND WORK RELATED INJURIES:
How Do I know what type of benefits I would be able to receive if I go out on Workers Comp?
It is important to know that the Workers’ Compensation benefit system is a wage replacement system provided to an injured employee who is: injured while in the scope and course of his/her employment; and as a result of said injury cannot continue working.
There are three types of weekly benefits an injured worker may be entitled to:
- 34 Temporary Total incapacity benefits: An injured worker qualifies for these benefits when they are temporarily totally disabled for doing their normal job as a result of their work related injuries. If you qualify for these benefits, the injured worker would be entitled to receive 60% of your average weekly wage (to calculate your average weekly wage you add up your wages for the 52 weeks prior to your work related injury and then divide that number by 52. For example if you made $52,000 then you would divide that by 52 and your AWW would be $1,000.) Using $1,000 as your AWW, to find out your §34 benefit rate you would do 60% of $1,000. So your temporary total incapacity rate would equal $600.00. An injured worker can remain on Section 34 benefits for a maximum of 156 weeks (3 years).
- 35 Partial Incapacity: Partial incapacity benefits are awarded when your injuries are such that you are not able to work in the full capacity as you had before your injury. To determine your Partial Incapacity benefit rate, you need to calculate first your potential §34 rate. Once you calculate that, you multiply that number (in this case we will use the $600.00 figure from above) by 75%. Therefore, your Partial Incapacity rate would equal $450.00. An injured worker is entitled to receive these benefits for a maximum of 260 weeks (5 years).
It is important to note: If after the 156 week period of time expires and the injured worker is still not able to return back to work, you can continue to receive benefits under §35. However, you will only be able to get benefits for four years, as the law caps benefits under §§ 34 & 35 to a total of seven years.
The other type of benefits an injured worker may qualify for is §34A Permanent and Total Disability benefits. As the name states, in order to qualify for these benefits, you have to be permanently and totally disabled for all gainful employment. A determination of an Employee being classified as permanently and totally disabled comes from two main places, treating physicians and vocational experts. If an injured worker qualifies for these benefits, you would receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage, each week for the rest of your life. Permanent and Total Disability benefits are also the most difficult benefits to get awarded. In order to determine someone qualifies for these benefits, a Judge would not only look at the medical evidence presented to him, but also a number of vocational factors as well. For example a Judge would look at the injured workers’ age, education, experience, and previous work history, in order to determine if the injured worker has any transferable skills in the open labor market.
Even though §34A is the most difficult benefit to get awarded, we at D’Angelo Law Group have been very successful in getting our injured workers on these benefits.
Medical Benefits: These are almost as important as the weekly benefits an injured worker receives. Medical bills are very expensive. In the case of an injured worker these bills could include: Emergency Room treatment, ambulance bills, radiological studies, physical therapy, specialized care with orthopedics, neurology, etc., surgical expenses, medication, follow-up care.
We let all of our injured workers know that if you qualify for any of the above benefits, you also qualify for medical benefits under §§13 & 30. In a workers’ compensation claim, if liability has been established, then the Insurer is required to pay for the injured workers medical treatment for injuries related to the work injury, so long as the medical treatment is: 1) reasonable; 2) necessary; and, 3) related back to the work injury. Now there are times where the Insurer, even when liability is established, contest a specific medical procedure. If that happens, the injured worker is able to file a claim with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents to specifically request the insurer to pay for the treatment.
The Workers’ Compensation system is not an easy one to navigate. If you, or anyone you know has been injured on the job and believes they may be eligible to receive these benefits, do not hesitate to call our office at (978) 687-8100. We are here to help.
After I am injured on the job how long does the insurance company have to start sending me my checks?
Answer: When you have been unable to earn full wages for five (5) or more full or partial calendar days due to an injury on the job, your employer has seven (7) days, not including Sundays and legal holidays, from the fifth date of loss, to report the injury to its insurance company. The insurance company then has 14 calendar days from receipt of the first report of injury to mail you a check or, if it intends to contest the claim, to send you a form stating its reasons for denying compensation.
Many injured workers wait much longer than this amount of time for needed and deserved benefits to kick in. If you or someone you know is having this problem tag and share our office info. D’Angelo Law Group, North Andover- Boston
Another question we often get asked is:
I don’t know the name of my employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. What do I do?
Ask your employer. They are required by law to have a Notice To Employees poster displayed somewhere in the workplace, providing you with that information. Also, if you have been injured, and have been unable to earn full wages for five (5) or more full or partial calendar days, your employer must report your injury to their insurance company and to the DIA. They are required to give you a copy of this report, which contains the name and address of the insurer.
If the Employer is uninsured, then the injured worker would have to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund.
How Long Do I Have to File My Claim for Massachusetts Workers Compensation After I’ve Been Hurt In Work, What Must My Employer Do To Help Me:
The answer is: You have 4 years to report the injury to your employer’s insurance company. Your employer must help you to do this, but you must report the injury to them properly.
As you can imagine, the sooner your injury is reported, the better. You should report it to your supervisor and their supervisor, immediately. Your employer is then supposed to assist you by making the first report of your injury to their insurance as soon as possible. This report gets the claim moving and benefits started.
Your employer is required to post the name and address information for their Worker’s Compensation Insurance in a spot where every employee can see it. Look for it next time you’re near the time clock or in your company break room. In fact, to not display this information is a violation of law!
That’s how a good employer follows the law and cares for injured employees.
Unfortunately we stay in business because some employers fail to follow the law, have unsafe work conditions, fail to report injuries, don’t carry the proper insurance, hide their insurance information, you name it.
If you were injured on the job and need help call our office for a free consultation. 978 6878100.
Am I able to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits if I am an undocumented worker?
Most work that pays a decent wage for the risk to life and limb to miners, loggers. police and firefighter are not the jobs that undocumented workers get. However, there are plenty of hazardous, high risk jobs that undocumented/illegal workers take where injury and death occur to uncounted millions of illegal immigrants. Many of these injuries go unreported out of fear that the worker has that they will lose the job or be reported to immigration authorities. Lack of training, inexperience and fear of losing work create an environment where these human beings follow jobsite managers instructions that create life threatening work conditions especially when doing dangerous work, that no one else wants at a few dollars over minimum wage. The employers who take advantage of the undocumented labor pool know how to maximize profits.
Undocumented workers are not engaged in the most dangerous occupations such as logging or mining, jobs with the most fatalities according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regulatory oversight of extremely hazardous workplaces keeps undocumented workers away from risky well-paying jobs. Instead they are shuffled to marginal, less desirable and dangerous jobs, where language barriers and lack of training create additional obstacles. For example day-labor construction workers fall from heights every day, the study suggests. These workers are often paid via “sub-contractors” who are managed and directed by the general contractor. Not only do they qualify for workers compensation but because of the oversight and direction of the general contarctor an action can be brought in court for negligence against them.
We service the following areas:
- Manchester by the sea
- North Andover
- West Newbury
- North Reading
- Bristol County
In The News
401 Andover Street, Suite 202
North Andover, MA 01845
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